Friedman Talks Best-Case Scenario For Tampa Bay

The Rays have proven that small market teams can win in the American League East. It just takes a lot of talent, careful timing and some good fortune. Tampa Bay faces payroll cuts and the likely free agent departures of Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano this offseason, so president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman knows it's too early to say exactly what will happen this winter. But a few months from now when Friedman looks back at the offseason, he knows precisely what he would like to see.

"That we were able to add a meaningful number of bullpen arms," Friedman told MLBTR. "Some with guaranteed deals, some on Spring Training invites and just have the options in house for us to pick and fill out a bullpen. Also to add a bat or two to the mix that helps balance us out offensively and ideally have an extended term of control beyond just 2011 [for the hitter] in an ideal world. Ideally. You asked for ideally. It may not play out that way; we may get a guy on a one-year deal and that's fine."

The Rays bullpen will look considerably different in 2011, since Soriano, Randy Choate, Grant Balfour and Dan Wheeler are all free agents.  How does the team address a bullpen that's completely in flux?

"It's a good question," Friedman said. "We don't really know the answer yet in that we have a number of trade targets that we're focused on, we have a number of major league free agents, we have a number of six year [minor league] free agents and [from] some combination of all three of those pools of players, we're going to have to come out of it with four or five bullpen guys that hopefully offer a diversified look and allow us to replicate some of the success we've had recently in the bullpen."

Building a 'pen in the AL East is tough, but the Rays will look for relievers with above average pitches and hope for good luck. They won't necessarily wait around to address the 'pen, but like the Padres, they will probably add relievers later on in the offseason.


Full Story | 21 Comments | Categories: Tampa Bay Rays

21 Responses to Friedman Talks Best-Case Scenario For Tampa Bay Leave a Reply

  1. wickedkevin 5 years ago

    Best-Case Scenario: Leaving Tampa.

  2. Yes! San Antonio Baby! We gotta whole unused Alamodome and 3.5 million people just sittin here waitin for ya!

  3. yankeesfan88 5 years ago

    2011 Rays are the definition of FUBAR. How they can replace Pena’s production, I have not a clue. And that is without even looking at the vacant bullpen they now have.

    • That .241/.351/.490 career will definitely be hard to replace. Especially his amazing .196/.325/.407 from last year.

      • yankeesfan88 5 years ago

        30 Home runs out of any lineup is a blow pal.

        • Luv Free Curly Fries 5 years ago

          .196/.325/.407 is not tough to replace at 1B…That amounted to a 102 OPS+ last year, aka league average for any position.

  4. redsox_fever 5 years ago

    as a red sox fan I dont hate these guys I actually feel bad, Tampa wont be the same team it’s been for the last few years mostly because of the lack of interest in baseball down in tampa, but next year they’ll realize the team it had, but for the best case scenario is move the franchise somewhere else

    • yankeesfan88 5 years ago

      If they were to move to a market where they could make the big FA signings or retain all these guys, they would not be the club we both know and love. Recognize that part of their appeal is that they were able to build a winner from next to nothing and I think we will all love to watch them do it again.

    • tellrodt 5 years ago

      The problem is that we have one of the highest unemployment rates amongst all MLB cities. It’s not that there is a lack of interest. Believe me.

  5. Abraham Zapruder 5 years ago

    no hope

  6. Abraham Zapruder 5 years ago

    I assume you mean the Tampa Bay area since they play in St. Pete? The problem, there aren’t any markets to move to. And, they have a lease until 2027.

    • redsox_fever 5 years ago

      correct at this point i’m pretty sure they’ll have more success anywhere other than st. pete

  7. Rays aren’t as down and out in 2011 as everyone expects, I think. It does suck that they’re losing so much great talent because of their budget issues, but with Hellickson and Jennings coming up, all is not lost. Toss in Longoria, maybe Jaso? While the 2011 Rays won’t be as good as the 2010 Rays were, they’re no longer the laughingstock bottom-of-the-barrel crap they once were.

    • yankeesfan88 5 years ago

      Right losing the bullpen that was one of the best in the league will not be an issue at all.

      • tellrodt 5 years ago

        Getting J.P. Howell back will be a huge boost even if it comes two weeks into the regular season. They will also have Jake McGee who is a possible future closer and Chad Qualls (who does kinda suck but he has experience in the late innings). But you are right. They will no longer have the best bullpen after they lose Soriano and Benoit. If Balfour comes back and they can find another couple of steals then they will be good enough.

      • tellrodt 5 years ago

        Getting J.P. Howell back will be a huge boost even if it comes two weeks into the regular season. They will also have Jake McGee who is a possible future closer and Chad Qualls (who does kinda suck but he has experience in the late innings). But you are right. They will no longer have the best bullpen after they lose Soriano and Benoit. If Balfour comes back and they can find another couple of steals then they will be good enough.

    • Tko11 5 years ago

      Blue Jays will be better this year

  8. PookieGonzales 5 years ago

    All my “i hope they can compete as a small market team” feeling died after they started beating the crap out of the redsox. I hope they have an “unideal” situation during this off season ;).

  9. GhettoBlaster 5 years ago

    Why would they want to keep Carlos Pena? Guy strikes out every AB. Occasionally runs into one.

    The big loss is Soriano and Benoit.

  10. GhettoBlaster 5 years ago

    Rays have a few problems- Highly overrated manager. He managed them to lose the world series in 2008.

    The loss of Pena isn’t the worst thing. That guy pretty much struck out, and every once in a while ran into 1.

    Losing Soriano, Benoit will suck balls for them. Of course Crawford.

Leave a Reply