It's early. It's early but... This team is 6 outs away from a 4-9 start in an unforgiving division. And if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, its Andrew Friedman. Right? Okay, now that we said that, lets look at some of the moves the Rays made this offseason. The salaries are to the best of my recollection, so don't jump on me there...
Sign Kelly Johnson for $3.25 Million
Re-sign Ryan Roberts for $3 Million
Re-sign Sean Rodriguez for $1 Million
Cut Luke Scott ($1 Million buyout) and resign him for $5-6 Million
Offer arbitration to and Re-sign Niemann for $3.25 Million
Trade for Yunel Escobar who's making $5 Million each of the next 2 years
Trade Shields for (potentially very good) prospects, including Wil Myers, saving $10 Million this year
Let Carlos Pena walk (good move) having paid him $7.25 Million last year
Allow team HR leader BJ Upton to leave as a free agent (for $75 Million)
Bring in Roberto Hernandez (aka Fausto Carmona) for $3.25 Million plus incentives
Bring in James Loney after a down year for $2.5 Million plus incentives
OK my fellow Rays fans... Tell me which of these moves you think was absolutely a no brainer? To me, many of these moves were curious. Letting BJ go was probably the one painful yet necessary decision. I could argue against it but I won't. I'd have let him go. But none of the other moves are no brainer to me and many seem too clever by half.
We got three utility infielders, all coming off very poor years, for a combined $8.5 Million. We signed a pitcher who has been consistently hurt in Niemann and another in Hernandez who barely pitched last year and struggles the two before, for a combined $7.5 Million +. We let a solid hitter (admittedly with no pop) in Keppinger go, but bring in another in Loney who struggled last year. Yes, his defense is better at 1B than Kepp would have been. We brought in a temperamental SS who had a down year for $5 Million, for two years, when Hak Ju Lee may be ready next year.
I just don't get these moves. Would we have been a worst team with Zobrist at SS and Keppinger either at 2B or 1B? Defensively, a bit. Offensively, we'd be better. Would it made sense to just let Sean Rodriguez go and keep a cheaper alternative in the much maligned Elliot Johnson. And I know Wil Myers may yet be a superstar, and Shields was at his highest trade value and a year away from being unaffordable. So ok, it's tough, but make that trade. But why include the affordable Davis, a proven major leaguer? I think I would have passed up on Odorizzi to keep Davis, and passed on Hernandez. The thing about eating up innings... I don't love that theory. Not if it is at the expense of a quality bat.
My bottom line is that its early and all these moves may prove genius. But the whole offseason I had this gnawing feeling that we looked too deep into the garbage heap or the discount bin, passed up on some potential proven bats (Melky Cabrera, baggage and all, went to Toronto CHEAP; Berkman at $10 Million wouldn't have been obvious, but to DH instead of, say, Roberts and Scott? I think I'd rather spend the money on Lance.
So I'd love to hear what others think... I am not the stat expert many people on this site are, but I'm a baseball guy. Former player, a coach, and a knowledgeable fan. I just... Don't feel... Right.
Am I crazy?