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2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

A few of you have reminded me that I've ignored the Nats and D-Rays in the 2007 Team Outlooks.  No offense intended.  Check out Rays Index for your D-Rays blog needs.

Andrew Friedman's contract obligations:

C - Dioner Navarro - $0.38MM
C - Josh Paul - $0.475MM + raise
1B - Ty Wigginton - $0.75MM + raise
2B - Jorge Cantu - $0.38MM
SS - Ben Zobrist - $0.38MM
3B - Akinori Iwamura - $1.8MM + $1.1375MM posting fee = $2.9375MM
IF/OF/DH - Greg Norton - $0.8MM
LF - Carl Crawford - $4MM
CF - Rocco Baldelli - $0.75MM + $0.45MM bonus = $1.2MM + incentives
RF - Delmon Young - $1.16MM
OF - B.J. Upton - $1.3MM
DH - Jonny Gomes - $0.38MM

SP - Scott Kazmir - $0.38MM
SP - Jamie Shields - $0.38MM
SP - Jae Seo - $1.2MM
SP - Casey Fossum - $2.2MM (September shoulder surgery, should be ready for spring training)
SP - Brian Stokes - $0.38MM
SP - Jason Hammel - $0.38MM
SP - J.P. Howell - $0.38MM
SP - Jeff Niemann - $1.68MM

RP - Dan Miceli - $0.65MM
RP - Shinji Mori - $0.7MM (torn labrum rehab, should not be ready for spring training)
RP - Seth McClung - $0.38MM
RP - Edwin Jackson - $0.38MM
RP - Ruddy Lugo - $0.38MM
RP - Chad Orvella - $0.38MM
RP - Tim Corcoran - $0.38MM

Non-roster invitees:
1B - Hee Seop Choi - $0.975MM

This payroll should be under $25MM, even with some raises, incentives, and the possible inclusion of Choi or Neimann.  And that even includes Iwamura's posting fee broken up over four years, which may not count against payroll.  It's a great core, and if built up carefully the D-Rays could make the AL East a very interesting division towards the end of the decade.

The catching situation is set, with Navarro the main man.  The Rays only had to give up a couple of unwanted vets to get Navarro and Seo.

As of right now, Wigginton is the favorite to play first.  He could have two challengers in Choi and Elijah Dukes.  I don't have Dukes listed above because I don't see how he fits in at the moment.  But given a 12-man pitching staff there is room for one more position player, one of these two.

Despite his clunky defense and lost 2006, some teams should have interest in Cantu.  Moving him would free up some much-needed space in the infield.  Iwamura can bounce to second if needed, but it seems unlikely that the B.J. Upton-at-third experiement would resume.  Right now Zobrist is the only shortstop candidate, but the Rays might try to upgrade via trade.  As long as it's not an outfielder, I get the impression Friedman will just try to get the best available player(s) in a deal.

Norton will split some time with Gomes at DH, though I could see Gomes running away with it if healthy.

The outfield is set at Crawford/Baldelli/Young.  That leaves no room for Upton or Dukes if they are viewed as outfielders.  Both deserve starting gigs, so something has to give.  I know the team doesn't want Upton on the bench with the big club but he's had enough time at Triple A.

Trade rumors have swirled around Upton, Cantu, and even Crawford, but Baldelli is the name everyone's talking about currently.  If the Marlins really offered Scott Olsen, the Rays should take it.  Looks like Friedman will just sit back until a team bowls him over with a couple of top shelf prospects.  John Schuerholz, for one, has never been afraid to deal his.  Nor has Kenny Williams. 

Kazmir, Seo, and Shields are locks for the rotation.  Same for Fossum, if his shoulder is OK by spring.  That means one vacancy goes to Stokes, Hammel, or Howell.  Niemann probably needs a half season in the high minors before forcing his way in.  The Rays could still sign a vet off the scrap heap to fill a spot, especially if they don't have faith in Fossum's recovery.

The bullpen probably needs one veteran signing, but targets Russ Springer and Octavio Dotel are off the market.  David Riske, perhaps?  The team doesn't want to go into spring training with McClung closing.

Right now the D-Rays are cheap and supremely talented but at least a year off from competing.  Management seems intelligent now, with some decent trades in the books and reasonable veteran signings.  If guys like Norton, Iwamura, or Wigginton are playing well they could be dealt off for more youth in coming years.


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Crawford is the one OF they shouldn't trade.

Keep Crawford and Dukes. Then trade off some or all of Baldelli, Upton, Young, Cantu for arms.

If they click, the D-Rays could be good. IT all depends on their pitching; but, they play in a tough division.

I would keep Crawford (though, he'd get maximum value back); trade Dukes, Upton Cantu and Fossum.

And, try to get decent catching.

I would not trade for/sign a "Veteran" closer. It's not like they'll compete late in the year anyway.


Upton and Dukes are at low points in value right now. Baldelli they are asking for way too much for by far from all reports.

The Drays are being the Drays if they arent getting Kazmir back for Vzambrano it isnt enough.

But, I think before spring they will come down in price. They need a pitcher and the market for pitchers is drying up faster then a prune in a retirement home disappears.

a whole bunch of superstars. WIll they come to fruition before they leave town and make it a good team? The pitching this year is still lacking, but I think they could be seriously good.

They just need to pick off top flight SP arms from other teams.

Baldelli to the Marlins for Olsen or Josh Johnson.

Upton should fetch a future #2 right? I'll admit that I'm not too knowledgeable on the DRays farm.

Cantu to some team that needs a 2B. A's?

But anyway, my point is that they have 5 good OFs, and a 2B that are all above average players, young and cheap. Trading 2OF and a 2B for atleast top of the rotation (#1 or #2 guys) should be the priority.

Pair up Kazmir with 2 or 3 other quality SPs and the DRays could easily challenge for AL East.

By easily I mean... they'd need a servicable bullpen.

Gomes, Crawford, Young and Dukes should be enough offense if the staff is good.

Yes please. Don't forget about the Nationals. OH, wait. I got it. We're saving the best for last.

It's amazing to see such talent for 25 million dollars. I agree that they should deal Upton/Baldelli/Cantu to different teams for starting pitchers. Man, I wish my team had the DRays farm system.

That is scary good... Their whole payroll is under ARod's. HaHa.

Amazing... that is a lot of talent for almost no money.

The DRays could contend by next year if they do nothing.

They could contend this year if they dealt 2 outfielders and 1 other young guy for pitching. 1 or 2 starters and 1 or 2 relievers could make them complete.

It will be interesting to see which florida team will have a lower payroll.

People still think that the Rays are soooo reluctant to trade. Except that they aren't. The new front office of theirs sent off a lot of players last year, and none of those trades could be considered highway robbery, especially when you consider that they paid much of the salary of many of the players that they traded too.
There is still a lot of winter to make a trade involving Baldelli, Cantu or Upton.

if you need any help with the nats outlook, i'm very willing. shoot any questions about projected starting positions, salaries, etc to me by email if you wish...thehoagster07@msn.com.

i run a nationals fan myspace at www.myspace.com/nationals so you can check there to see my work.

I would have to say the Nats are no doubt the worst baseball team in the league. Thats right people, this role is no longer owned by KC or Chicago. Nats all alone

The Rays have some real nice and young position players. They've got the Kazmanian Devil leading the rotation, but still need some real help there. Their bullpen is a complete disaster.

If they ever want to even think of competing in the Big East they need a LOT more pieces, and I don't think they'll be able to come up with the players they need for at least 3-4 years.

Why would the Braves trade Adam LaRoche to the D-Rays and not inquire about BJ Upton? Are the D-Rays really that interested in Adam LaRoche? Does anyone here believe Adam LaRoche will produce in 2007 like he did in 2006?

"Man, I wish my team had the DRays farm system."

Most of which came from draft picks as a result of horrible finishes.

"Most of which came from draft picks as a result of horrible finishes."

Except for Kazmir, Zobrist, Guzman, Talbot, Jackson, Howell. Those guys came from great trades by Freidman and the only good trade Chuck LaMar was allowed to make. As a big Rays fan I'm hoping to see Cantu moved to 1B, Iwamura playing 2B, Upton at 3B, and Wigginton shipped out of Tampa for some pitching. I know Wiggington led the team in HR and RBI last year, but he's Ty Wiggington. Also following the Mets has helped shape my opinion, so hopefully the Yankees show some interest in Wiggy and we can scoop something out of there. Also, Dukes is an outfielder. No doubt. Watching him play against us in High School was an amazing thing. He plays the Outfield (CF esp) with grace and probably won't move to 1B.

Here is my 2007 Devil Rays Starting Lineup

CF Baldelli
RF Young
LF Crawford
DH Gomes
1B Wigginton
2B Cantu
3B Iwamura
C Navarro
SS Zobrist

INF Norton
OF Dukes
C Riggans/Paul
INF Upton

Starting Rotation
SP Kazmir
SP Shields
SP Seo
SP Fossum
SP Hammel/Howell

RP Switzer
RP Camp
RP Miceli
RP R. Lugo
RP Stokes
RP Jackson
RP McClung

free agents would fit for the D Rays

SP T Armas
SP J Piniero
SP M Mulder
RP D Riske
RP M Herges
RP T Williams
RP C Pollite#
RP D Turnbow*
1B B Broussard
1B A LaRoche*
3B D Bell
SS R Clayton

* via trade
# no team

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