After seeing Tino get off to a nice start in his second round with the Yankees, I thought it would be good to dig into the Devil Rays Blog archives to see the pro/cons in bringing Tino to the Rays in the first place. I was sursprised with George dispatching Tino who was a Tampa guy in favor of the "BIG" mistake in Giambi. Like George, Rays brain trust did not see the value of having a guy like Tino around. It came down to money as always with this franchise.
Tino's numbers on the year look like:
.275AVG .356OBP .598SLG 10HR
Here is my take in the offseason prior to the 2004 season:
D-RAYS First Base There are those out there who are dissapointed about the Tampa Bay not picking up the option on 1B Travis Lee. My take is the guy was signed for some serious money out of college, and he has not lived up to his hype. He wore out his welcome in Arizona, and the same thing happened with the Phillies. Sure, he is nice defensively and is only 27, but the team has its sights on landing a top notch offensive player. Thus, the organization is keeping its options open depending on what shakes out. They can always approach him later or move Aubrey to 1B if neccesary. Lou has always stated that the OF made sense for Aubrey last year, but long term he might need to play else where. In regards to the Tino Rumor. It would not be terrible just as long as the Cardinals pick up most of the tab. For those who dont know, Tino grew up in Tampa and played college at the University of Tampa where he earned a spot on the Olympic team. I would view Tino as an upgrade over Travis Lee. This team needs quality clubhouse guys. The guy has a couple world series rings, and was an integral part of the success the Yankees had. I was surprised that George let the Tampa product walk. Sure, he has been down the past few seasons. But, I welcome this move and I think a return to the AL might be just what the doctor ordered.
A reader response:
Let's talk about Tino Martinez. What a waste. His home run totals have from 34 to 21 to 15 the last three years. He is 36 years old Dec. 7- way past his prime. His OPS is only .781 which is low for a "power postion". How do you think he will do in a lineup without Pujlos, Edmonds, Rolen, Renteria et al? Talk about protection in a lineup. Why was St. Louis so happy to be rid of him? They are so happy to see him gone they are paying $7m of his 8.5m. What does that say? Oh, I forgot his REAL qualifications. He is from Tampa. What about 2005 when he is a free agent? He will be retired or gone elsewhere or totally lacking in his former skill. How is this building a team? Bringing in players with little left. Didn't the infamous "Hit Show" teach them anything? LaMar is not exactly a rocket scientist. Granted, he has a limited budget but still could do better than Tino. Put Huff at first and go after Reggie Sanders or an equivilant. Develop a plan and stick with it. The Rays are a rudderless ship that will remain so until they get new ownership. Look across the bay at the Bucs under Hugh Culverhouse and what happened after he died. If you are going to do a serious site about the Ray's, please put a little more thought into it. Sincerely, David Smith
Second reader response:
First base I think you are way off base if you consider Tino and upgrade over Travis. I think you will have a different opinion at the conclusion of the next season. In my opinion Tino is not an upgrade either offensively or defensively. If the Rays sign Tino, he will retire in Tampa but not before taking money away that is seriously needed elsewhere, like in the pitching department. BIG mistake. Stephen Clark