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The Rays Tanks: The Lucrative Television Deal Strikes Again

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Things were quiet over the holidays, but that doesn't mean nothing has happened; in fact, these past few days have been quite full of interesting rumors and news. Carlos Quentin got dealt to the San Diego Padres for a bag of balls and some bubble gum -- okay, the prospects involved have some value, but it just seems strange -- and I really don't know what their plan is in Chicago. Rebuild? Compete? A bit of both? They seem stuck somewhere in the middle, and that's not normally a good place to be.

But anyway, the more exciting news (to me, at least) had to do with two Scott Boras clients: Edwin Jackson is seeking a 5 year, $60 million deal, and the Nationals are looking like the favorites to land Prince Fielder. The Jackson deal is lulz worthy, until you start considering that he's been worth over 3.5 WAR each of the last three seasons and he's only going to be 28 years old next season. He seems like a risky player to sign to that long of a contact, especially considering his heavy reliance on the slider. But at the same time, he's a good pitcher and he's possibly underrated by most due to how long it took him to establish himself in the majors. Boras normally gets what he wants (or somewhat close to it), so I'm curious which team is going to take the plunge.

As for Fielder, you may ask yourself: how can the Nationals afford to go after one of the largest free agents of the season, especially with Jayson Werth's deal already on the books? The answer: a new television deal that will significantly increase their revenue streams. Sound familiar? Damn, it seems like the Rays are going to be one of the last teams to get a new deal at this point.

There hasn't been any Rays news recently, so let's hit up some other cool links quickly:

  • FanGraphs introduced a new filter on their leaderboards: Active Roster. Now you can sort by only players that are on a team's 40 man roster (although it doesn't show players that haven't played in the majors yet). Right now, here's the Rays 40-man roster...pretty nifty that you can see Molina and Badenhop on this, eh?
  • Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times released his projections for this year's Hall of Fame voting results. He was pretty close with all his projections last season (within 3 percentage points), so his results are probably a good estimate of what to expect this year. According to him, only Barry Larkin will get voted in.
  • Along those lines, there's a thread at Baseball Think Factory that's keeping track of all the publicly released HoF ballots so far and compiling the results. So far, Larkin is at 93%, with Jack Morris and Tim Raines polling in the low 60s. I'm glad to see the Jeff Bagwell (58%) is getting more love so far this year, but we'll have to see how that holds up.
  • Tango is offering a class in sabermetrics, if anyone out there is interesting. It won't come cheap, but it also sounds like a sweet opportunity.
  • BurGi at Rays Prospects has been doing roster projections for each level of the Rays' minor league system, and he hit on shortstop and second base recently. If you want to find more position projections, check out Rays Prospects - most of the articles can still be found on the main page.