AL East Notes: Rays, Lowe, Peralta, Napoli, Ortiz

If David Price isn't traded, "almost every baseball person one talks to mentions the Rays as the team to beat in the American League," Peter Gammons writes in his latest piece for his Gammons Daily website.  Price has stayed in the fold despite multiple trade rumors this winter, with the Rays instead adding roster depth instead of moving another cornerstone player for prospects.  The depth and continuity carrying over from 2013 is a big factor for Evan Longoria, who notes that "for the first time since I’ve been here, we have almost everyone back. We have a team that is going to play together two years in a row.”

Here's some more from around the AL East…

  • The Rays' "laid back environment" was a key reason why Mark Lowe chose to sign a minor league deal with the club, MLB.com's Bill Chastain reports.  Lowe notes that his choice came down to the Rays and Indians this winter, as those were the two clubs who "pushed the hardest" for his services.  Tampa manager Joe Maddon said that the Rays originally tried to sign Lowe during the 2012-13 offseason.
  • Jhonny Peralta said the Yankees offered him a three-year contract and the opportunity to play third base, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (Twitter links).  The Yankees were Peralta's preferred Big Apple team since the Mets only offered him a two-year deal that Peralta described as "not really good."  Of course, Peralta overcame the stigma of his 50-game PED suspension last season to sign a four-year, $53MM contract with the Cardinals as their everyday shortstop.
  • Mike Napoli rejected a qualifying offer from the Red Sox last fall and the slugger felt the draft pick compensation limited his free agent options, Napoli tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.  “It’s tough because it’s kind of holding you back,” Napoli said. “You get (to free agency) and it should be all the teams that want you. The way it is now, if a team doesn’t want to give up a pick, they’re not going to be interested.”  It ended up being something of a moot point for Napoli, as he openly wanted to return to Boston and re-signed for a two-year, $32MM deal.
  • There isn't any new news about David Ortiz's contract talks with the Red Sox, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports.  The two sides apparently haven't had any further negotiations since their initial meetings two weeks ago.  (Cafardo shared some more items about the AL East in his regular Sunday column, as reported earlier.)
  • Quintin Berry talks to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford about why he signed with the Orioles and how he appreciated his time with the Red Sox last season, though the Sox didn't push too hard to re-sign him.  “Supposedly [they tried] a little bit, but I know they had a couple of things in mind they wanted to do, some guys they wanted to try and give experience to,” Berry said. “So I just wanted to test the market and see what else I could do."  Berry signed a minor league deal with the O's in January.


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26 Comments on "AL East Notes: Rays, Lowe, Peralta, Napoli, Ortiz"


MaineSkin
1 year 5 months ago

The Redsox will be good, but not because of Napoli. They could of bought Corey hart who’s also a great clubhouse guy, but can play multiple positions. Napoli blew up over 2mo to save his season, but even with that 3-true outcome approach, the K% and hip will eventually win out.

MB923
1 year 5 months ago

The only multiple positions I’d say Hart can play are 1B and DH, and I”m pretty sure DH is occupied in Boston. Hart is about as valuable as Raul Ibanez in the OF.

Hugh Langin
1 year 5 months ago

The Sox signed Napoli to 2 years, and the hip appears to be fine and doesn’t appear to be an issue going into the future. Yes Napoli was streaky last year, but he’s always been streaky. I could care less how many times someone K’s. I care more about HR’s RBI’s SLG% and OBP% and you know what else Napoli did a ton???? he made pitchers work. As a matter of fact he led ALLLLL of MLB in P/PA. Sounds like a Red Sox kinda guy to me.

stl_cards16
1 year 5 months ago

I agreed with your comment until you said you care more about RBI’s than K%. Lucky for you, Ben Cherrington does not feel the same.

Hugh Langin
1 year 5 months ago

I really don’t want to get into a stats conversation here because we could write a whole book on it. No one should ever weight ONE stat, and they often hold more weight when combined with others. It’s like looking at a BABIP without looking at LD% and GB% and FB% and then we can get into sample size and career norms etc etc etc. My point was a K is an out, and if a hitter is otherwise an OVERALL productive player I could care less. If they don’t walk, and have zero power then the K rate would stand out to me. Lucky for…Ben C is my G.M. and I admire him and his ability to build WS caliber teams.

Seamaholic
1 year 5 months ago

Napoli had a crazy BABIP last year, WAY above his career norms. In short, he had a fluky year. If his BABIP had been normal for him, he’d have hit around 225 and been below league average. Expect about that this year.

RyanWKrol
1 year 5 months ago

I always expect that from Napoli. Surprise, surprise. Die hard Angels fan here who never drank the Mike Napoli kool aid. I never liked him as a catcher. Always thought he should be strictly a 1B/DH, and hitting 6th or 7th to provide a little extra OBP for the bottom of the order.

Hugh Langin
1 year 5 months ago

WHY??? his career BA matched exactly what he did last year? If you expect his BABIP to go back to career norms then I say his K% goes back down to career norms as well. Assuming his HR% stays relatively the same his AVG shouldn’t take much of a hit.

RyanWKrol
1 year 5 months ago

You should care about hitters’ K rates if you want those RBI’s! You contradicted yourself there. The mythical deal breaking stat known as the RBI is not possible if players like Napoli are striking out. Same with OBP, SLG, etc.

Napoli’s ability to make pitchers work is really his only true asset as a hitter. He’s not very good with the bat itself.

Ever since he was with the Angels, I’ve viewed him as a 1B/DH who should be hitting 6th or 7th. He proved how inconsistent he really is in 2010, and then in the first half of 2011, and all of 2012. Fans still seem to not be over his fluky second half in 2011. Great for him. But that’s not the real Mike Napoli.

It was a fluky BABIP. And the same thing happened in 2013, and still only resulted in a .259 BA.

Also, it’s his shoulder that Red Sox fans need to worry about more than his hip. The shoulder issu goes back to the minor leagues.

Not that I don’t like Napoli. I think he’s valuable as a hole filler/depth piece to provide extra OBP and some extra pop and runs in the bottom half of the order. But the Red Sox’ success in 2013 goes far beyond Mike Napoli.

That team had an MLB best 12 players with OPS+ over 100.

Hugh Langin
1 year 5 months ago

You guys are acting like I think Mike Napoli is a god or something. I happen to NOT think that he is a true middle of the order bat. I was merely defending him to the poster who thought that he was nothing but a 2 month hot streak last year. Napoli has been a streaky hitter his whole life.

MB923
1 year 5 months ago

Rays are the team to beat? Truthfully I think it is hard to pick out what team is the best in the AL. There might not even be a best team. Teams like Oakland, Texas, Detroit, Boston, Tampa and possibly even the Yanks all could be considered some of the best.

I wouldn’t call a team that hasn’t won a playoff series (unless you really count the WC game as a series) in 6 years the team to beat suddenly.

I’m not saying the Rays will not win the East or win the pennant, but I wouldn’t call them the team to beat.

johnsilver
1 year 5 months ago

With you there. Detroit has the equal rotation and an offense that is non existent in TB. Detroit has little competition in the AL Central and TB ha both NY, Boston, possibly even the O’s.

Think some writers just get wishful thinking over the Rays sometimes. The Tigers have 1 hole, middle relief and that can be in flux/fixed the easiest of all during the season. I think they are the probable best team to start the spring thus far in the AL.

MB923
1 year 5 months ago

Agreed. Up until last year, the AL Central was weak for a long time.

Keena Kaur
1 year 5 months ago

The media gushes over Tampa every year.

fatdaddy
1 year 5 months ago

I would have agreed with you if the Tigers had kept Fister. After 1-3, Detroit’s rotation doesn’t look that great. Add that to the lackluster bullpen with the exception of Nathan and the Tigers pitching overall is not quite as strong as the Rays. Pitching and defense will ultimately win games and the Rays infield of Loney/Zobrist/Escobar/Longoria/Hanigan is one of the strongest out there. Tigers have the edge on offense, but if Longo and Myers stay healthy they will crush for 30+ HR each. All in all, Rays look very strong and have a good chance of seeing Detroit in the playoffs.

johnsilver
1 year 5 months ago

That’s just it.. TB offense is pretty brutal overall. Myers, zobrist and Longo. Nobody (outside of friedman) thinks Loney is going to put together another fluke season again. Hanigan is a backup defensive catcher. Escobar is league average, at best.

The Rays will be counting on the pitching, pitching and more pitching to win there games.

Bob Bunker
1 year 5 months ago

I think you are severely underrating Rays offensive players or not realizing that the Tigers don’t have a dominant offense anymore.

Evan Longoria is no Miggy but he is one of the top right handed middle of the lineup bats in the game and entering his prime. Will Myers is a former top 5 overall prospect in the game who had a OPS+ of 132 in his rookie year which is comparable to V-Mart and he should only improve.

Desmond Jennings is pretty comparable to Austin Jackson. Zobrist is better than Kinsler. Escobar is much better offensively than Igleasis and Loney will probably be more valuable than Nick C. Hanigan has good defensive and OBP skills and will provide only a little less value than Avila. Dejesus compares well with Hunter and Joyce is pretty good himself.

And the tigers back rotation depth and bullpen issues can’t just be ignored.

Bob Bunker
1 year 5 months ago

I think you are severely underrating Rays offensive players or not realizing that the Tigers don’t have a dominant offense anymore.

Evan Longoria is no Miggy but he is one of the top right handed middle of the lineup bats in the game and entering his prime. Will Myers is a former top 5 overall prospect in the game who had a OPS+ of 132 in his rookie year which is comparable to V-Mart and he should only improve.

Desmond Jennings is pretty comparable to Austin Jackson. Zobrist is better than Kinsler. Escobar is much better offensively than Igleasis and Loney will probably be more valuable than Nick C. Hanigan has good defensive and OBP skills and will provide only a little less value than Avila. Dejesus compares well with Hunter and Joyce is pretty good himself.

And the tigers back rotation depth and bullpen issues can’t just be ignored.

Jason MacAskill
1 year 5 months ago

Question – if (for example) Napoli actually accepts his team’s qualifying offer, and he goes to free agency the NEXT season, does he still have to be qualified? Could or would Napoli have to sign a string of one-year deals, and get the average rate of a top-125 guy, for three of four years in a row?

Not saying it’ll ever happen, but I honestly don’t know if a guy can get qualified in consecutive years.

LazerTown
1 year 5 months ago

If he accepts the team’s qualifying offer his next free agency would be the same thing. The team would have to extend the offer again if they wanted the draft pick compensation, and the player would potentially have his market hindered by that. Doesn’t have to be 3 years in a row, they aren’t concerned with actual compensation, but whether the team is willing to extend that average rate of the top-125 players.

Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Did you hear that, Cleveland? Your rabid opposition to Casual Fridays and hackey sacks cost you a player.

robbyrob
1 year 5 months ago

Not buying the Peralta story. The A-Rod trial was still going on and Cano was still unsigned when he signed with the Cards. Why would they have entertained him at that point?

Michael Wilson
1 year 5 months ago

because everyone with half a brain knew arod would be gone for 2014

pft2
1 year 5 months ago

Napoli turned down the QO and he got 2/32 miliion. Drew turned down the QO and he got a wave goodbye.

Interesting the Yankees wanted a guy coming off a PED suspension to replace one they expected to serve one. From a PR viewpoint, it does not make much sense, but the Yankees do need someone who can play 3B and Drew is the man, and he should be cheaper. He is also presumed clean.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 5 months ago

They already made a multi year offer to drew but he rejected it

jed_hoyer
1 year 5 months ago

the teams had to give up draft picks under the old system so don’t understand how the new system is affecting them. more like gm’s not overpaying for mediocre talant like they used to.