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Rays Nuggets

An occasional piece covering small tidbits of Rays news...

A few little nuggets of information from Sunday's baseball column in the St. Petersburg Times before I duck off to sleep...

Drop Dead Date

The Times reported that the Rays now have a new organizational policy for arbitration-eligible players.

Talks with the three arbitration-eligible players - Seth McClung, Josh Paul and Ty Wigginton - will continue until Tuesday's exchange of figures, but if there is no deal by then under a new team policy the cases will go to a hearing.

That new policy seems highly counter-productive, from my understanding of what that tidbit implies. I find it hard to believe that the organization would cut off negotiations with players at the time of the arbitration figure exchange, that just seems unreal. How many times has this organization gone into the figure exchange with as many as three or four players unsigned? I would wager that this has taken place in the majority of the last couple years, so why would the team arbitrarily cut off talks at that point and go to a hearing, something they have avoided all but twice in the last nine years? There is a reason that this has been achieved, and it is called "compromise", and the arbitrary deadline put forth in that policy significantly reduces the chances of one happening. Arbitration is an ugly process where teams have to dig up all the bad stuff they can on a player and trash him in his presence (or that of his agent's) so he doesn't earn as high a salary. No one involved wins, and you run the risk of losing. Arbitration should be avoided at all costs, and this policy runs completely counter to that line of thinking. Let's just hope that we get deals done with those three before Tuesday.

Number Swap

If you've gotten used to identifying certain Rays players by the number on their back, you may have to teach yourself all over again.

Scott Kazmir changed his uniform number from 26 to Aubrey Huff's old 19; Delmon Young will take 26, which he wore in the minors. Among others, Jae Seo changed to No. 40, Shawn Camp to 22 and Don Zimmer to 59, marking his 59th season.

All entirely pointless in the grand scheme of things, but I just hope that Kazmir isn't taking after his fellow Texan.

Update [2007-1-14 12:33:56 by R.J. Anderson]: Other Rays assigned numbers were:
Akinori Iwaumra - 1
Mitch Talbot - 51
Brendan Harris - 38
Elijah Dukes - 35
Elliot Johnson - 43
New Turf

A decision has been reached on the new turf being installed at Tropicana Field this offseason.

A new edition of FieldTurf, similar in color but less shiny on TV, will be installed at the Trop in the same dirt-basepaths configuration.

Good to see that the team is keeping with the traditional all-dirt basepaths. I really don't like the cutouts, it reminds me too much of arena baseball and it runs completely counter to the organization's penchant for making changes to the Trop to make it look "traditional". I can also attest that the turf needs a change. Just walking around on it last year at FanFest, you could see where it where parts of it were ripped up and the small breaks in the turf that were a leg injury waiting to happen. All in all, however, the turf was relatively un-problematic, as compared to other places in which it was installed, such as Philadelphia's Veteran's Stadium. The Tropicana turf was a true trail-blazer, the first FieldTurf ever to be installed in a professional sports stadium, and I'd say it served us well. Hopefully the new turf leaves the same track record.