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Memorable All-Stars in (Devil) Rays History: Randy Winn (2002)

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randywinn
randywinn

This isn't exactly a groundbreaking discovery, but wow -- that 2002 Devil Rays team was really bad. They used a total of 11 starters during the course of the season, and their staff "ace" had a 4.46 FIP (Joe Kennedy). They only had three hitters that were above average on offense -- Randy Winn, Aubrey Huff, and Ben Grieve -- and their collective offense ranked 13% below average. I'm not sure if they were the worst iteration of the D-Rays, but they certainly have their hats in the ring.

But on this team, the Devil Rays had a legit all-star: Randy Winn had a breakout season, posting a .360 wOBA while playing above average defense in centerfield. He hit for a very respectable .298/.360/.461 line, and his offense was only eclipsed on the team by Aubrey Huff, who hit for a higher average and slugged more out of the DH hole.

The enjoyment was short lived, though. While I was happily envisioning Winn as our centerfielder of the future, he was 28-years-old at the time and entering his second season of arbitration. Possibly spurred by their depth of young outfielders -- Carl Crawford had just broken into the majors, Rocco Baldelli would make his debut in 2003, and B.J. Upton and Josh Hamilton was in their minors -- the D-Rays decided to sell high on Winn, and they traded him during the offseason.

Good rationale, right? Trade the player that's getting expensive and has a limited ceiling, allowing you to build for the future. Except....they traded him for Lou Piniella, who managed to do nothing but get thrown out of lots of games and yell at rookies. But hey, at least he was a local boy, right?

/facepalm