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The "BIG" Ray Debate of 2005-2006

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Right now, one of the biggest arguments going on right now on many Rays Message Boards or Chats is whether or not Stu and "The Brain Trust" should make a "big splash" when it comes to Free Agent spending. Both sides(for and against) have their reasons and both have some facts that prove their point to be worthwhile.

Those who are for a big "splash"

Many of these people want instant gratification and proof that Stu and his front office are on the opposite end of the spectrum as the Front Office occupied by Vince and Chuckles. One of the easiest ways for them to be gratified so promptly is for Hunsicker and Freidman(Batman and Robin) to spend money on one of the "top name" free agents this year and get them to sign a semi-longterm deal with us. Doing that would prove to other free agents that this new ownership wants to contend in the near future and will spend money in doing so. It would have a snow-ball effect and would give the national media something to report about rather than make us the butt of their jokes.

Wouldn't it be nice if Ryne Sandberg would shut up for once about us? Yes, but I don't think that we can get that lucky...especially with the way we treated his craptastic nephew Jared when he was a Ray.

Those who are against a "big splash"

On the other side of the argument, Many Rays think that it would prove detrimental for the Rays to make any big "free-spending" moves in the new ownership and new front office's infancy. The main reason is that this years' Free Agents aren't anything that we would want to spend major dollars on and have positive production in the long-term sense.

AJ Burnett, Billy Wagner, Matsui and Rafael Furcal are the top names this year and we have no need for any of them. Burnett is a torn elbow tendon away from retirement. Wagner is an overrated closer who didn't even have as many saves as our buddy, Baez, did. Matsui is too old and too expensive and Furcal looks like he'll be either playing in New York or Chicago.

Also, with Hunsicker pointing our buddy Andy in the right direction...we're more likely to get better value through trades than we would in spending. We have lots of expendable parts right now and there are probably a good number of teams that wouldn't mind trading some of their better players to us for players who we don't have room for, would be contractually beneficial for them to trade for or prospects who have worn out their welcome. Hunsicker knows talent, he put together a good team in Houston without having as much "raw" talent as he does now. Now, he'll pull the trigger on trades that LaMar was too chicken to make, too dumb to accept or too oblivious to even consider. Baez and Lugo almost were traded to the Mets last year, but LaMar asked for too much and the trades fell apart. Now things have changed and maybe new doors will open and we could make deals that would make the Kazmir-for-Zambrano trade look like childs' play.

Add into the fact that after this season, next year's Free Agent list actually contains "Ace" starting pitchers and worthwhile "Big Name" hitters.  We could spend a smaller amount of money this year and get a few good players that give us a few years of good play without costing us too much money, then spend big money next year for someone that could put us over the top and make us a legitimate Wild Card and/or Division contender.

You make the decision, would you want a "big splash" this offseason or would you hold off?