March 25, 2012; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena (23) slides save into first base as he led off in the fourth inning during their spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The biggest news of yesterday was the announcement that Wade Davis will join the bullpen, leaving Jeff Niemann as the team's fifth starter. We touched on it briefly when it happened so I won't talk about it here, but the move comes as no surprise. Do you think the Rays made the right decision?
On the baseball front, the Rays were shutout by the Red Sox. Brandon Gomes, in competition for the last bullpen spot with Burke Badenhop, pitched poorly, walking four and giving up one hit while recording just two outs. It's being deemed a competition, though it seems nearly impossible that Badenhop would lose out given that the Rays traded for him and are paying him a handsome salary of $1 million.
It was a slow day, so let's go right to the bullet points.
- It appears as though the family of Anthony Tufano, the victim in Matt Bush's hit and run this weekend, are going to pursue civil lawsuits against Bush and Brandon Guyer, according to the Tampa Bay Times. This situation has the potential to get much uglier over the next few weeks.
- Baseball Nation's Rob Neyer brings you some good thoughts on what exactly we mean when we say groundball pitcher.
- We're down to players 151-200 in ESPN.com's quest to rank the 500 best active players. B.J. Upton comes in at 152 and Desmond Jennings at 158
- Keith Law ranked his top 10 players...for 2017. Evan Longoria (6th) and David Price (10th) made the list, adding the follow for each:
- Paul Swaney and the team at Stadium Journey rank all 30 AAA ballparks; the DAP does very well.
Longoria is the oldest position player on this list, but as a plus defender at a skill position, he strikes me as a good bet to hold much of his value into his early 30s, much like Beltre, a plus defender at the same position, has been able to do. Longoria's biggest challenge will be staying healthy, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the baserunning value he showed in 2009 and '10 fade or disappear over the next five years, but his power, patience and glove all should make him a perennial MVP candidate.
It could be Kershaw, or King Felix, or Madison Bumgarner, or perhaps a 32-year-old Cole Hamels (who has that plus-plus changeup he could probably ride to age 40) on this list instead. Perhaps it'll be Price's teammate Matt Moore, the best pitching prospect in baseball, or a then-24-year-old Dylan Bundy. But I'll come in down the middle with Price, formerly the top pitching prospect in baseball, who has shown gradual improvements over three years in the majors and still has the size, durability, intelligence and repertoire that made him so promising coming out of Vanderbilt. I believe there's a Cy Young Award in his future, and I trust the Rays' track record of keeping pitchers healthy to let Price reach that ceiling.