The Rays are surely happy to put the 2016 season in the rearview mirror after ending up buried in the AL East basement. President of baseball operations Matt Silverman and manager Kevin Cash addressed the club’s situation heading into the offseason today, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
First and foremost, Silverman stressed that the club is “hellbent” on a return to contention, suggesting that a broad-based sell-off should not be expected. Tampa Bay dealt Matt Moore and Steve Pearce at the trade deadline, but the former was shipped from a position of depth while the latter was on a one-year deal.
Plus, the Moore swap brought in Matt Duffy, who the club hopes will solidify things at shortstop. His presence also allows the organization to utilize Brad Miller at first (or in a broader utility role), which Silverman suggested could be positive in several regards (via Topkin, on Twitter).
Silverman suggested that the club will need to balance its commitment to its core with the need to infuse some new blood. “We have a lot of the guys in house, but we’re going to need to make some changes and we’re going to need to bring in some new players, too,” he said. “The core is intact, the core is talented, and if you listen to the players talk, if you listen to Kevin and the coaches, they will tell you, too. There is still a lot of confidence, there is still a lot of optimism within our clubhouse, and that bodes well for next year.”
The two key organizational figures didn’t cite any major needs, which is a good thing given the team’s resource restraints. Improving the bullpen is one obvious area, and Cash also cited a desire to do a better job running the bases. Then, there’s the catching position, which Silverman acknowledged has been a “sore spot,” as Topkin further tweets.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether Silverman and co. can come up with any other creative options over the winter. As I wrote in breaking down three key needs for the club, there’s not only room to improve behind the plate and in the pen, but also perhaps an opportunity to add some offensive firepower. Looking to players like Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza to improve is obviously the key, but that doesn’t mean more can’t be done. What remains to be seen is whether the rotation-rich Rays will be willing to dip into the reservoir of starters once again after dealing Moore at the deadline. It is clear, though, that there’ll be interest from other teams; Silverman says he has already received calls on starting pitching, as Topkin tweets.
Poll: which losing record team most likely makes it to the post season next year
Phillies look close enough and could make noise.
If they don’t do a tear down and rebuild, White Sox.
Okay Kenny, get back to work.
Pirates, they underplayed in 16, but I’ll say a real darkhorse is Colorado. The offense is there, and if their young pitching can become league average they’ll be dangerous.
Hard to picture many other teams taking that big of a jump. Theres a few that underplayed like the White Sox and Royals….Royals were at .500 even.
Unfortunately without jose that’s not likely. His death was the real tragedy, but it does also set them back years in terms of competitiveness.
The Pirates and the Rockies would be my first two picks for teams that had a losing record in 2016 that most likely make it to the playoffs in 2017.
Milo Goes To College
If Rays ownership is hellbent on contending, removing the “devil” from the equation wasn’t the wisest decision.
I hung out with the descendents years ago at their hotel…Milo knows his shite – he definitely paid attention.
If ‘contention’ means a record around .500 with a ceiling of around 85 wins then I can see that IF a lot of things go right for the Rays. But in all honesty I think it is going to be difficult for them to compete in 2017 against the rest of the AL East. There will be some turnover in players on the O’s and the Jays, but the Yankees could very well be better and the Red Sox look tough for next year too. The Rays don’t have a ton of ready for the majors prospects and we all know they are one of the lowest budget teams.
The East seems fairly wide open for next year. Jays have questions about the offense especially if they lose Bautista and Edwin. The O’s have concerns in the rotation and could lose their big bat in Trumbo. The Yanks are a complete wild card. Even the Red Sox, who are the safest bet in my opinion have questions about the rotation and who replaces Papi(not so much production but leadership). If the Rays can pull off some savvy moves(ie find a good catcher) and get some good fortune, they could be right in it next year.
A ton of “ifs” and while Silverman has did well getting Miller, he also traded Turner/Ross for an average right fielder that does not overcome his strike out rate, implemented a failed “starters don’t go through the order more than twice” policy. 2 years of garbage bullpen. Etc… Captains don’t enlist confidence like they used to.
A new manager would be an excellent 1st step.
They really should go all in on a rebuild. Teams like the Angels and White Sox have proven that trying to tip toe between contention and rebuilding just leaves you in the middle. The Rays could accumulate an enormous amount of talent if they unloaded Archer, Cobb, Odorizzi, Smily and Kiermaier. 2-4 blue chip prospects a piece for those guys and you unleash them all in 2-3 years tops.
I feel like that’s the only option for them at this point. Ideally, they would go out and spend some money on position players this offseason, but the rays never do anything like that.
The Rays need to get to work in the off season.