This year, we Rays fans, determined in our plight, thought that we would be cheering this team for far longer than we did. Our season came to an end late Monday night as the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 4-3. In a season full of could have beens and should have beens the Rays reached only their full potential with nearly two weeks to go and it was too late. The 12 of 13 run wasn't enough to overcome the deficit.
Fingers could be pointed at many places but the main one is to be pointed at the inconsistent offense. The offense cost the team many 1-run losses this season that should have been easily won.
The inconsistent offense under Derek Shelton has been a constant talking point for me over at my blog. Granted, under Derek Shelton the Rays have been to the playoffs 2 of the four years under Shelton, but also note that both those times they were knocked out by the Texas Rangers in the first round. The offense has been a constant talking point for talking heads all over the place. They point that the main reason we don't win anything is because that we don't produce at the plate consistently enough.
Take this for example. David Price won 20 games this year to become the Rays first 20-game winner in franchise history. If the offense was better and more consistent, then Shields could have done that easily in 2011 to go with his 11 complete games. The inconsistent offense is a thorn in the side of the potential of this team.
It's time for Shelton to go, he's holding us down as I noted earlier this year. I have fans tell me that one person should not hold all the blame, I disagree especially when that person is charge of the department of the game that is failing on this team.
So what of 2013?
With BJ Upton likely departing this offseason, we might not ever know for certain what could have been this year if the offense was more consistent.
What we must do this offseason to have any better shot in 2013 is trade some of our pitching (I would prefer not to trade away Shields) for some bats and spend some money on the free agency market. I, personally, would try to bring BJ Upton back and not just concede him to free agency.
With about 180 days until the first pitch of 2013, it will be a long offseason.
But, do take note, that if the offense is not fixed, 2013 will just be 2012 part 2. Great pitching is nice and crucial, but it alone will not win games because you can't score runs with pitching. This is a shadow hanging over the team that MUST be rectified for the team to do more than just barely make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.
So here's to 2013, where hopefully we have a healthy Longo, some good offense, good pitching and a Commissioner's Trophy. GO RAYS!