Given the Rays’ offseason maneuverings, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wonders if the club has shifted from its philosophy of building with pitching and defense to more of an offense-oriented approach. As Topkin writes, the Rays added the likes of Corey Dickerson, Steve Pearce, Brad Miller, Hank Conger and Logan Morrison at the expense of Jake McGee, Nate Karns, Rene Rivera and James Loney. Ace pitcher Chris Archer sees the changes in a positive light. “We learned for the last eight years that just being pitching heavy is probably not the way to do it,” he said. “You’ve got to have defense. You’ve got to have pitching — the teams that win get high-level pitching, starting and relief. But you’ve got to have offense, too.” Third baseman and franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria also approves, saying that the Rays are in “a really, really good spot overall.”
Here’s more from the American League:
- We learned Wednesday that Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush could be “several months” away from returning to action because of a shoulder injury. Two of his fellow Mariners relievers, Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook, will also continue to be out for a while longer. There’s “minimal hope” either will be back soon from their torn lat muscles, writes Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times. “We don’t anticipate seeing either of them before the mid-end of May, thus the placement on the 60-day DL for Ryan,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “But Ryan appears to be on target to be in that zone, Scribner is just a little bit of the unknown.” Dipoto added that the M’s don’t have a timeline for either pitcher and could ultimately have Scribner join Cook on the 60-day DL. The team somewhat helped to make up for their absences when it acquired right-hander Nick Vincent on Thursday.
- After releasing Clint Barmes earlier this week, the Royals are working to bring back the infielder on a minor league deal, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). Barmes was an Article XX(B) free agent, meaning Kansas City would have had to offer him an active roster spot or pay him a $100K retention bonus by this past Tuesday. Instead, the team opted to release the 37-year-old and could now re-sign him to a new contract. Barmes, who has long excelled as a defender, owns a career .245/.294/.379 line in 1,186 major league plate appearances with four different teams. He spent last season in San Diego, where he was a replacement-level performer in 98 games.
- A report earlier this week indicated Rays left-hander Dana Eveland had a Friday opt-out. That’s not the case, per Topkin, who says that a decision on Eveland’s future might not come until the weekend (Twitter link). Eveland, who joined the Rays in December on a minor league deal, has made his case for a bullpen spot by going 10 1/3 innings without surrendering an earned run this spring.
The Rays are right in changing there philosophy even though theyve had long success in developing young pitchers. Grow the bats, buy the arms. That worked good for the cubs last year and since the mlb is a copycat industry, i wouldnt be surprised if more teams took this approach.
Barmes spent last season in San Diego not Pittsburgh
Thanks, Dave. Sorry about that. The error has been corrected.
I’m not sure I see the change in philosophy to more offense from TB. Yes they got rid of some pitchers but in hindsight they shouldn’t have. With the injury to Boxberger they are looking much thinner now with McGee and Kearns gone too. I don’t know if Steve Pearce would be considered going more offensive heavy. Offensive yes but better offense no. Pearce had one good season and is 32. Maybe Dickerson but he only played in 65 games last year.
The Rays just HAD a surplus and decided to deal from it. Its not a philosophical change. at all. Maybe acquiring a big bat or two at the expense of pitching would have said that more prominently but a Rockies outfielder coming off an injury campaign for a bullpen arm doesn’t speak so loudly. If they sent a package for him and Cargo then maybe but for now seems like the Rays are content to do what they always do. Have very nice pitching staffs/makeshift bullpens/and mediocre offenses that turn Longorias hair gray.
Change in philosophy might be a little strong. Facing grim reality and taking some baby steps to try to fix it might be more accurate. The Rays finished 25th in runs scored last season and still managed to play just under .500 and had a shot at the postseason into September. The addition of the new bats should up that production considerably.
Consider this. The Rays lost 30 one run games in 2015. If one of the 1B platoon, or Hank Conger, or the new Desmond Jennings (we’ll see about that one) can contribute enough offense to turn 8 of those into wins, the Rays would have been in the postseason. They would have needed only 50 more runs to be in the top half of MLB. The RBI production out of 1B over Loney and C over Rivera alone could account for 50 more runs.