The thoughts expressed here are that of Jacob Larsen and do not always express the thoughts and opinions of the staff here at DRays Bay. -Jake
-The Brian S, er Casey Fossum, Report
Not that I've become a fan of Brian Stokes all of a sudden, but Casey Fossum appears to be worse at relieving than he was at starting. How is that possible?
Well, if anyone remembers the Rangers/Rays Orlando Series, the Texas play-by-play guys pointed out that Fossum gets better in the 2nd and 3rd ABs against a batter than he was in the 1st go-around versus a line-up.
So unless we turn him into a long-reliever, which I'd be against strongly, he has no real niche with this team. Switzer, which I cringe when mentioning his name, is a better LOOGY candidate than Fossum is right now with his miniscule ERA in Durham.
My thoughts beg the NDRO for one thing...
TRADE OR RELEASE FOSSUM!
-The Sweat Hogs
If you were born in the 70s or early 80s, you probably heard of "Welcome Back, Kotter" before. It was basically the launch-pad to John Travolta's career.
Anyways, the main point of this blurb is that "Kotter" was basically about a former jokester-type(Gabe Kaplan) coming back to his old neighbor to teach a class filled with kids that he acted like or was friends with in HS. Basically the freaks, rejects and geeks of HS embodied the "sweathog" way of being.
Well, on Saturday, Maddon put forth a "Sweathog"-filled line-up against Cy Young-possible C.C. Sabathia. They didn't look all that great against CC, but they managed to put up 6 runs and attempted a serious comeback against the Indians.
I'm befuddled that a line-up full of schmucks can put up 6 runs, yet our top line-up Sunday barely can squeek out 2 with Jamie Shields on the mound.
With the Trading Deadline 29 days away, Rays fans are scratching their heads on why the Rays have yet to pull off any deals after we went on a Trade Bonanza in 2006.
To put it bluntly, we can't afford to make any trades at the moment. Now before some fans get into the entire payroll argument, I don't mean "afford" in terms of money. When I mean afford, I mean that it'd be hard right now for us to pull off a trade without hurting the organization in a negative way?
Why, you ask?
Right now, due to injuries, our hitters on the 25-man roster are mainly our every-day guys and not all of them are playing their everyday positions. So if we were to trade one of those position players, we'd be forced to rush a prospect to the majors(Ruggiano or Ruggiano for OF, Guzman for IF) when they're clearly not ready or play former major league has-beens that clearly aren't going to "cut" it.
I'd be nice to see our lack of credible bench players problem to vanish when Upton returns to the Rays, but I don't know if that's going to solve the problem.
Next, our problems aren't a secret to anybody. We need basically one thing and that's relievers, credible ones at that, and those get more expensive when the deadline nears closer and closer. Most teams don't want to deal them or only deal ones that have expiring contracts. So if we were to acquire a reliever, we'd have to trade more than their "real" value and most likely ink them to a long-term contract. Either way, we're screwed.
Other Rays fans may think that we'd be smart to try and acquire a catcher or starting pitching before the deadline, but I'd disagree with that.
While people continue to gripe that Navarro isn't pulling his weight and probably never will, they forget that he's 22 and in the majors and he's been plagued this year due to 2 fluke medical problems. I believe that if Navarro was given a full-season of ABs with Riggans being used only as a once-a-week back-up, he'd put up numbers that Toby Hall in his prime could never reach.
As for acquiring front-line starting veteran pitching, I ask "why?". Again, we'd more than likely overpay to acquire them and be much smarter to use what we've got here before looking for the vet to put us over the top. Niemann, while still not dominating like everyone thinks he should, has won every decision in each of his 5 last starts and that's under strict 100 pitches or less Pitch Counts. He's 9-4 with a sub-4 ERA in a hitter-friendly International League.