The end of season press conferences are usually a disappointment for all but one team. Some teams take moral victories in their seasons, like had the Pirates finally finished above .500. In the first 10 years of this franchise I never thought the fans and team would be disappointed with winning 90 games, but that's whats happened. And that's a good thing. Andrew Friedman addressed the media Thursday afternoon and our man Tommy Rancel was on the scene, so allow me to borrow some of his highlights.
Friedman was especially unhappy with the defensive output, saying "I expected us to have an elite defensive team and we didn't." A lot of that can be credited to the loss of Evan Longoria for 80+ games which forced players like Elliot Johnson, Brooks Conrad and Drew Sutton into more playing time than you'd like to see. Upon Longoria's return to third and Zobrist's to shortstop the defense looked to settle down quite a bit.
My biggest takeaway from Friedman were his comments on trading some of their pitching depth for offensive help. Yes, they have a lot of depth but this is a team that needs that depth more than most. Not because players get injured -- the Rays staff has been remarkably healthy -- but because the team can't afford to sign free agent starters. He added "if we ever have to go to the market for for pitching, we're doomed." While they'll certainly look to make a move at the right price, they won't be "flippant" about their pitching depth, as Friedman put it.
Friedman echoed the feelings of everyone who cares about this team in stating “to the extent we can keep him (Longoria) on the field for 150-plus games, there’s nothing we can do this off-season that will be more meaningful.” Judging by the team's performance without him for 80+ games this season a truer statement has never been spoken.
-Josh Hamilton had a really, really bad day Wednesday as Jeff Sullivan notes.
-Grant Balfour worked five games in a row, all victories, to close out the A's season. In those games he threw five perfect innings and struck out eight batters. He's currently on a streak of retiring 26 batters in a row. As Daniel Rathman points out, the last time a reliever worked a perfect inning on five straight days was...never?