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Oh, Joe!

    Despite what you may think with a headline like this, the following is not, IS NOT, a bashing of Rays' manager Joe Madden. This is a response to an article written by Joe Henderson in the Tampa Tribune.
    The ironic part I want to point out that is near the beginning is the line "Night after night it's the same thing - can't hit, can't pitch, can't catch."....The ironic bit would be of course the same day this is printed, Jae Seo goes 8 innings and allows 2 runs, so much for can't pitch. Can't hit? Considering 2/3 of the lineup has either been hurt or traded (not to mention a stretch of facing five-six legit one/two pitchers) do that to any offense and I'm sure they have similar results. Also, the Rays do have 10 hitters who have 10 or more homers, but only one (Ty Wigginton) with 20 plus.
    After getting past that introduction, I found myself questioning what he was thinking about while typing this out, "Blow up the entire infield." So we should give up on B.J. Upton, who just a few short years ago was 'the next Derek Jeter', who is still young and has a world of potential. The same Upton who has started to heat up hitting .272 in the last 30 days. Has he shown the power we expected? No, but nobody expected (or should've I shall say) him to come up and automatically become a 20/30 guy in less than half a season. He's played in 85 games now, just barely over half a major league season, give him a full year before deciding to cast him aside.
    Next let me tackle the other infielders; He mentions Ben Zobrist not being the answer with the bat at shortstop, well Joe he never was going to be. See we have this kid in AA, Reid Brignac, who just won the California League MVP and has been compared to Chipper Jones with more power. I find it funny that he mentions Julio Lugo (saying the Rays are 15-32 since dealing Julio) and acts as if Julio has been lightning it up. Well Joe, Rocco hasn't been a bum hitting leadoff, Lugo in L.A. on the other hand hasn't been so....great, his batting average has fallen from near / over .300 to the low .270s, does that sound like a guy who would be helping this ball club? A slumping player whose glove wasn't golden.
    He mentions how Cantu doesn't have the defense for 2b, which is true. Then he says move Ty Wigginton back to third and sign a first basemen (with power) to come in and take the spot. Joe, did you do any research, I did and there are only (at max) three, yes three first basemen who I would even consider for the Rays; Nomar Garciaparra, Sean Casey, and Craig Wilson. It's apparent you think that good first basemen grow on trees, or that the Rays will be the only team who will be pursuing these names.
    Next he mentions the bullpen, which most of us can agree hasn't been good this year. This caught my eye however "he Rays have to stop filling the gap with guys who washed out as starters at Durham. Get three proven middle relievers this winter." Joe, what guys are you talking about? Seth McClung has been successful out of the role, and Edwin Jackson performed well in Durham as a reliever. Other than that, who else has came from Durham as a starter (unsuccessful one at that) and join our bullpen? Take note Joe that we did the 'send them down and let them work in the pen' as a way to let them gain confidence and experience in that role, rather than tossing them into the flames.
    Next he says we should consider trading Carl Crawford and or Rocco Baldelli if someone "opens their vault" and that the team needs to approach things with "an open mind". Joe, we've made more trades this season than the last two combined. We've been very open minded including listening to offers for C.C. , James Shields (as has been reported in the Chicago Tribune), Scott Kazmir, and I'm sure numbers of others on the team. As far as I know we've never said "Kazmir and C.C. are untouchable.". I mean, Joe, did you read or even listen to ESPN or any local newspaper during July? The Crawford to (insert Anaheim, Houston, Colorado, ect.) talks were unbearable to most of us fans.
    Finally I found one last thing disturbing, other than the apparent lack of knowledge of the team he fails to mention the fact that we have a loaded minor league system that can produce some answers more so effectively than just the green stuff. In conclusion, Joe, maybe we should start regarding your articles as the same old "Doesn't do research, doesn't know the team, doesn't deserve the time it's takes to read."