Sit, batters, sit....Good Dogs
In the Arizona Fall League, the Rays are showing off a few unheralded arms in the Rays Farm System with Jamie Shields(2-1, 1.74 ERA and a 29/2 K/BB ratio in 31 innings/6 starts) and Brian Stokes(3-0, 2.78 ERA and a 16/8 K/BB ratio in 22.2 innings/2 starts). Shields looks like an odds-on-favorite to start next season as Durham's #2 starter with a possibility with a shot at a roster spot with the Rays in Spring Training. Stokes will probably start the season outright in Durham and may see a late-season call-up if he continues to pitch well.
Bankston is quietly keeping his Batting Average around .300(.299 as of now) and usually averages 2 RBIs in every start that he gets. I'm not worried about the lack of power that he's shown, seeing that this year's AFL has alot of great MLB-ready(or close to it) pitchers throwing there right now. Like I've stated before, unless we get a great 1B through a trade or Free Agency, I think Bankston should get a shot at winning the starting 1B spot....a stint in AAA would be nice, but it's not gonna prove anything to me. It's not like there would be a big offensive fall-off, seeing as the Rays High-A, AA and AAA teams all play in hitters' stadiums.
Turning on the Pilot Light
Right now, Many baseball fans are looking forward to the Winter Meetings and Hot Stoves being lit up. Right now, Freidman/Hunsicker are sharing time between interviewing Maddon and McLaren and shopping Huff, Baez, Hall and possibly Lugo.
The Rays(according to the St. Pete Times) are looking at acquiring Florida Marlins 3B Mike Lowell or Former Cub/Red Sox player 2B/3B Bill Mueller via trade.
Huff's name has been coming up again in the Pirate's search for a powerhitter and SP K. Wells and RP Grabow being dealt for him.
If it were me, I'd personally look at trading Huff to this year's World Champs and trading for some of their great pitching prospects who are just about MLB-ready.
I'm figuring that 2005 was the last we'll ever see Huff in a Rays uniform and he didn't really show us any reason that we should be sad to see him gone. If he does get traded, I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.