Rays Notes: Bullpen, Trades, Maddon

Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon wrapped up their memorable 2011 season with a press conference this afternoon. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times has the highlights, including a look ahead to 2012 (all links go to Twitter):

  • Friedman says he hopes to add one or two relievers this offseason, as opposed to revamping it completely as he did last winter.
  • The Rays could trade a starting pitcher for offense, but that's not necessarily the plan, according to Friedman.
  • Friedman says the Rays "have the players in place to have a very successful 2012 season."
  • Asked about his own future, Friedman said he's focused on building the best team possible for 2012.
  • Maddon says he's not concerned about entering 2012, the last year on his contract, without an extension. "I don't want to go anywhere else," he said. Maddon added that the Rays will likely look to replace Dave Martinez internally if the bench coach lands a managerial job elsewhere.
  • Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he expects the Rays to be playing elsewhere in ten years if a new stadium isn't built first. Morosi discusses the dual challenge the Rays face: winning and drawing fans.

Full Story | 52 Comments | Categories: Tampa Bay Rays

52 Responses to Rays Notes: Bullpen, Trades, Maddon Leave a Reply

  1. Hey Rays fans… why don’t you show up?  You have a great, young team full of superstars that has competed and beaten both the Yankees and Red Sox in the past few years. I know you guys went through some rough times…. but c’mon!  Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Oakland would all love to have your team and your team’s management

    (and all this is coming from a Yankees fan)

    • Casor_Greener 4 years ago

      I have never understand these owners.  If the stadium is the problem, build a new stadium with your own money.  Sure hope this guy (Ray’s owner) is not a conservative….

  2. TheFreak2011 4 years ago

    I look all around the map of the U.S. and I cannot see where Sternberg can move the Rays.  All the viable markets are gone.

    • Evan dolan 4 years ago

      brooklyn…but i know yanks and mets owners would flip $%^# if this idea was entertained. nyc can definitely support a 3rd team though

      • It definitely can. The Metro area has 20 million people, teams are supported in cities with not even 2 million people in the MLB.

        • chico65 4 years ago

          Yeah, but then we might have to downgrade the Yanks to a wicked empire instead of an evil one

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        I guess NY is always open to wasting more tax payer dollars on sports stadiums, so why not Brooklyn?

        FYI on original post.. The Rays chose St. Petersburg in the 1st place and then signed that lease through the year like 2020, or something like that in a sstadium nobody likes, wants to go to and is not suitable for baseball, Hockey, nor much of anything else.. It is long and hard for much of the population to get there (not located on that side of the Bay), so long story short? Rays ownership wanted a quick place to play when they got the franchise, got it, then compounded the situation by signinging a terrible lease and now St. pete is trying to force them into remaining on the “wrong” side of the Bay to draw fans just to break it and of course the Rays expect tax payers to fund the new stadium regardless..

        IMO.. Just move away and take Dewayne Staats and his New Yorker, whiney, new Yorker accented self with you. He would fit right in if they moved “upstate” competing with Kay, the voice of the NYY.

    • Christopher David 4 years ago

      I think Louisville, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Portland are all viable candidates, with Charlotte being the best option. One could argue that Charlotte infringes on Braves territory, but an AL team eases that burden, and they can still remain part of the AL East. 

      • the_show 4 years ago

        New Orleans wouldn’t have the money to build a stadium plus the Hornets are struggling there.

      •  Indianapolis could be a good landing spot for an AL team. 

        • Ferrariman 4 years ago

          i doubt it.  It sounds weird but a team in Indy would be better for if it was in the NL Central.  With the Reds, Cardinals, and Cubs all right there, it makes travel plans for fans so much easier.  It won’t happen though.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      expand the map a bit north, Vancouver would be a great destination for a team

    • San Antonio and Memphis

    • Orlando would be a very viable market and should of been the original spot that the Rays should of started there franchise at honestly (there’s tons of land space here to build a baseball park here).

  3. Sands Spencer 4 years ago

    Its gonna be an interesting season for sure, I can’t wait to see what happens.

  4. The team would do much better in Tampa. Demographically speaking, there are two main groups of people in St Pete: lower class and elderly upper class. The lower class, particularly in the area directly surrounding the stadium can not easily afford to go to games, even at the ridiculously low ticket prices the team offers. The problem with the elderly upper class, is that most of them who are baseball fans have been watching baseball for years and years, long before the Devil Rays franchise started. Most of them are transplant Yankee, Sox, Cubs, etc. fans, which also contributes to the large number of visiting team fans when those teams come into town. With the geography of the location of the stadium, it is a long, congested drive from Tampa to St Pete, which can easily deter fans from wanting to make the drive that often. The only thing that could possibly save the team in St Pete is the idea of a bullet train, going across the bay from Tampa to St Pete.

    Tampa on the other hand, is a much more diverse group. The “downtown” area is much more of a business district, rather than a cesspool for project neighborhoods and lower class housing like downtown St Pete. The addition of University of Tampa, USF, and many other smaller schools brings in a much needed teen/20s demographic to a young franchise in need of young fans who don’t yet have a lifelong allegiance to another team. I went to USF, and it is astounding how many people you see wearing Rays shirts/hats/etc on a daily basis, however not many people around here go to more than 3 or 4 games a year, due mainly to the distance. There are many viable areas around Tampa where a new stadium would bring large crowds. The first being near the Florida State Fairgrounds and Hard Rock Casino. The area is surrounded by interstates and major roads, and is on the side of town closest to Orlando. It would be an easy location to get to for everyone. The second would be near Raymond James stadium, which would be on the side of town closer to St Pete, possibly persuading fans that are over there to continue attending games.

    Despite all of those reasons, it’s a damn shame that there aren’t more people going to the games. I’d hate to see the team have to move to another city.

    • chico65 4 years ago

      I don’t get all the complaining about the location of the Ray’s stadium.  Yes it’s a little out of the way, but easy to get to.  I’ve been vacationing in the St. Pete’s beach area for the past 5 years, go right by the Trop multiple times every trip, and have never run into anything I would consider categorizing as “traffic”.  You want to know what real traffic is? Try DC, NYC, Boston, or LA.  The real problem is a fanbase that would rather make excuses and whine than support their team.

      • “Easy” to get to, yes. Around game time it can get pretty slammed on the roads, even moreso after games. Especially on the west side of the stadium. There have been times where it’s taken nearly an hour just to get back on I-275.

        • chico65 4 years ago

          Try leaving the Kenmore Square area after a Sox game.  I’ve had it take me an hour to go a single block on Comm Ave through the heart of BU on more than one occasion.  Yet Fenway is packed every single night. 

          The Rays drew under 30,000 their last game against the Rangers- for a playoff game.  That lack of passion for the team is just embarrassing for the sport.  I’m not knocking those that attend the games regulary- I know they care and applaud them, but where is everyone else?  A little traffic is enough to keep people away from a playoff game?  Seriously? You guys have got a hell of a team, and there should be more people witnessing it. Good luck in getting that new stadium, and I hope that it makes a significant impact for Tampa’s sake and for all those fans that stuck with the team through those losing years.  I’m not convinced that’s the answer to what’s ailing the Rays though.

          • In response to the last playoff game, it was nearly sold out, but a 2pm start time did not help things. TBS screwed us over by putting NY in the primetime slot and puttig us at 2. Not a lot of people could get out of work/school on such short notice.
            As far as the stadium, it’s really a culmination of things. But the biggest reasons amount to the fact that there aren’t enough people in St Pete who are either financially able, or willing to go to the games that often, and for the people in Tampa, there aren’t enough people financially able (gas, parking) or willing to put in the time to make that drive. It sucks for those of us who go as often as possible to be lumped in with the bandwagoners and wishy-washy fans, and people from all over the country can criticize and mock the people around here, and it’s well-deserved honestly. But putting a stadium in Tampa would really boost the numbers, as there are seemingly a lot more fans on this side of the bay.

          • chico65 4 years ago

            I feel for you Cody, good luck fighting the good fight and enjoy them as much as you can while they’re still around.

          • chico65 4 years ago

            I feel for you Cody, good luck fighting the good fight and enjoy them as much as you can while they’re still around.

        • Which way to you go?  I have been to MANY Rays games.  Getting out of the parking lot is a small problem, but once on the road, there is NO problem getting to I-275.  I like where the stadium is, even though I live in eastern Hillsborough county.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a stadium at the state fairgrounds?????

    • Orlando nuff said they should move to Orlando its a way more viable market that’s willing to support the team (and already supports an NBA franchise immensely well).

  5. HVega 4 years ago

    Rays ownership provides a good product on the field! St. Pete should support their team!  Unreal that they can’t fill their stadium unless the Yanks or Red Sox are in town.  Even then you have more fans from the opposing team… That’s just wrong..

  6. Shu13 4 years ago

    IMO they shouldn’t have been given a team in the 1st place….but MLB wanted to add more teams for greed reasons and now are stuck w/ a (now)good franchise in a horrible market…

    • The market isn’t bad, the stadium is bad, the immediate area around the stadium is bad, and the area is difficult to get to. The Mayor is difficult and stubborn too, he sees a good team as a reason to not build another stadium, not that theres absolutely no one there.

  7. Hey Rays come on over to Portland, the northwest needs another baseball team. One I don’t have to drive 5 hours to go see if traffic is good.

  8. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    I think the Rays are going to end up trading James Shields for prospect package. He could probably garner a blue chip prospect along with a top-100 prospect given his contract and recent performance

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      given the shortage of TOR starters in FA and the trade market I would be willing to wager they actually get more than that.

      Whoever loses out on the Wilson and Darvish sweepstakes and have glaring holes might be more inclined to overspend on Shields, especially if a division rival lands a big ticket FA

    • I guess it makes sense to sell high on Shields but if it were me i’d keep him you can never have enough pitching on your team (believe me this is coming from a Mets fan lol ).

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        but you can have a lack of other things, which the rays do (offense, money to get more of it)

        shields was always going to be traded by 2013. the question is whether or not to cash in on his breakout season now and move him a year early. with the emergence of moore, i think i’d be tempted to do it if the offers are strong

        price-hellickson-moore-davis-niemann is still fearsome

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          shields for a strong corner outfield bat+, upton for whatever can be gotten, jennings to centerfield imo

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            Shields for Vernon Wells?

          • chico65 4 years ago

            Only if Friedman takes the Cubs job and Reagins lands in Tampa

  9. As a Met fan, this makes me sad. I travel 1-2 hours all the time and buy expensive tickets to watch a god awful team make fools out of themselves just because i love them. What i would give for my team to be in the situation the Rays are in. Its a real shame. As much as traffic, travel times and ticket prices can deter people away, real fans will find a way to get there anyway. Even if it is only once in a while. The last whole month of the season EVERY home game should have been packed. 

  10. I think there are several issues.

    1)The stadium is a dump and many people won’t go to the game because of it, but not a huge reason for the low attendance

    2)Too many jaded rays fans in the area. There are tons of people wearing rays gear and they root for them but many of them don’t follow the team on an everyday basis causing lack of daily attendance, especially when they are behind the sox and yanks

    3) Economy is a factor. I know writers say this is dumb but it really is true. Even with the tickets being low, bringing in your own food, and parking at reasonable price it still can be pricey. A family and spend $40 on tickets, $10 on food, and $10 on parking and its still going to cost you $60. Although that is cheap for baseball, its still $60 that a lot of families don’t have. 

    4) Location in St. Pete isn’t good. It does take a lot to drive over the howard franklin and take at least a 30 minute car ride to St. Pete if you live in Tampa. They would draw a little better in Tampa. 

    • chico65 4 years ago

      Oh no!  A 30-minute car ride!

      Anyone who isn’t willing to endure a trip of 30 minutes to watch their team should have their fandom revoked.  Hell, even 30 minutes to watch ANY major league game.  I’d call this a pink-hat mentality in you were in Boston, but even then pink hats will endure 40-minute subway rides (the horror!) and hours in Boston area traffic to watch a game.  Fuchsia-hat mentality perhaps?

      • I remember leaving my house at 4:30 PM and arriving at Fenway at 7:00 PM.  With not even a stop for gas.  People here in Florida complain about everything.  Even the gas prices, which I think are some of the lowest in the country. 

        The people in the Tampa Bay area will be crying in their beers when the owners move away for a more fan friendly area.  The fans have no one to blame but themselves.  It’s a shame.  These young men on the Rays team play their hearts out for maybe one tenth, or less, of a payday than many other clubs, and have hardly anyone at their games. 

        Ten games a year is not a lot, especially for the price you pay.  It’s a steal!!!!

        Please, Tampa fans, go and see your team next year.  Show them that they should stay in the area.  PLEASE!!!!

  11. This image proves it all.. nuff said

    • TheFreak2011 4 years ago

      It would be interesting to see these stats applied to potential markets, like San Antonio, New Orleans, Memphis, Columbus and Indianapolis.  My guess is they are all about the size of Tampa, some a little more, some a little less.

  12. tapehead4 4 years ago

    Gee mister, you really are angry! Golly!

  13. RedCaps 4 years ago

    Toronto hasn’t had problems filling their stadium in the past. There were many years where they were drawing 45,000+ people per game. People have shown that they’ll go to Blue Jays games when they’re competitive. If MLB were to move a franchise or expand, I would think Vancouver might be their best bet. People there like baseball, and I don’t really see many options in the US that would realistically work out.

  14. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    dude get a life..

    Vancouver has a richer history of baseball than toronto, they pack High A games currently and would be a great spot for a team.

  15. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    This is all.

  16. Taskmaster75 4 years ago

    “Baseball has a richer history of baseball than toronto”

    I know what you really meant to say, but it still made me laugh.

  17. melkor77 4 years ago

    I don’t know if this means anything…  I live in Vancouver… I am not able to purchase MLB package through Rogers (cable)… I call and ask for it every year, they tell me they do not offer it due to lack of interest

  18. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    hahaha made me laugh too when I realized, that guy is just so inferioriating its hard to articulate..

  19. chico65 4 years ago

    Inferiorating huh?  You guys creating new words up North or Freudian slip?

  20. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    I make up words in my free time. I’m the stephen Colbert of the north

  21. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    It’s not lack of interest, you cant get it in Toronto either for legal reasons

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