The Rays Tank: Kimbo Slice Rodney, AL East Schadenfreude, And Molina Catching Woes?

April 10, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jose Molina (28) talks to starting pitcher Matt Moore (55) against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

There were a number of good articles in the local papers this weekend. I particularly enjoyed this piece by Roger Mooney on Fernando Rodney, as I hadn't read much on Rodney yet this year. He certainly seems like an eccentric character, and go figure, he's a goofball. Joe Maddon is already planning on having a "Rodney Day" at the Trop where they give away hats with askew logos. Oh, and his official team nickname is apparently "Kimbo Slice", which seems fitting after his crazy Kung-Fu look from spring training.

On the roster-action front, Marc Topkin hinted in one of his pieces this weekend that the Rays are "browsing" around for a catcher, and -- if I'm reading between the lines right -- that there is some increasing skepticism that Jose Lobaton will be back soon, or will be able to return at full strength. Also, there's a bit in there on Jose Molina's work behind the plate that I found enlightening and...umm, worrisome?

Plus, the Rays have had issues early with Molina. Most obvious, the pitchers have to adjust to how he catches, strategically (notice his number of mound visits) and physically, as he sets up on the edge of the plate and at a slight angle. Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged last week "it might" have something to do with the early pitching woes.

Hopefully it's just be a matter of getting used to Molina's unique style, as it seems from his past track record that his catching style gets good results. But if some of the Rays' pitchers continue to have problems adjusting, I imagine that'll ramp up the search for a catcher even more. I doubt it'll ever get to that point, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on. Is Molina helping, or is his style actually resulting in the Rays walking more batters?

In other news, Brandon Allen sounds like he's extremely coachable and has plus makeup. Who knows if that'll help him learn to hit off-speed stuff, but we'll see.

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