A little over 4 months ago, I organized a post for the community's offseason predictions. The offseason is often a dull time, and the act or making predictions, more commonly known as "rosterbation", helps pass the time and keep us all-year baseball fans sane. The post with the questions and predictions can be found here. Now that the four months have passed (and quite quickly for me, I may add), we can review these predictions and answer the questions. After the jump are the questions, along with their subsequent answers.
Question #1. Will the Rays sign a catcher or a shortstop to a major league deal?
The shortstop and catcher positions were both areas of need heading into the offseason. However, both positions had in-house options/replacements at the time, so the answer to the question was not as clear as it may have seemed. During the offseason, Andrew Friedman answered the question by signing Jose Molina. However, the Rays never did sign a SS to a major league deal, instead opting to give Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac the opportunity to win the starting role. Most of the community, myself included, said that a deal seemed likely, particularly a deal for a catcher. All in all, it seems like the Rays followed the path expected of them. I can't say I'm excited, but I'm certainly not surprised.
Question #2. Will the Rays head into the 2012 season with a payroll of $45 million+ or will they have a payroll below that?
The max-exodus of the payroll after the 2010 season has been well recorded. Pena left the Rays for the Cubs, Balfour for the A's, Wheeler for the Red Sox, Soriano for the Yankees, and Bartlett was traded to the Padres. Crawford also took his heart to Boston, but, luckily for the Rays, left his bat behind at the Trop. In the process, the payroll dropped from over 70 million to around 42 million. With the Rays reloading for 2012, the payroll was expected to rise. While the question may seen silly now (the payroll is well above 45 million), the payroll upswing is steeper than most expected. Interestingly enough, the majority of the community expected the payroll to be right around 45 million, a number that, in hindsight, is clearly too low.
Question #3. Will BJ Upton be with the Rays after this offseason?
The answer to the question is, obviously, yes. Surprisingly, there was little discussion or known trade talks regarding Upton besides for the usual and probably unfounded speculation. Clearly seeing 2012 as a year in which they will compete for a Wold Series, the Rays decided to hang onto Upton, keeping the team strong in the process. The community's opinion on the matter was split; some expected Upton to stay and sign an extension while others anticipated a salary dump. Hopefully the Ray's decision to keep Upton pays off remarkably during the upcoming season.
Question #4. Will the Rays re-sign Casey Kotchman, and if not, will they acquire a first basemen in a trade, signing, or from the system?
With Casey Kotchman becoming a free agent, the Rays needed to find a solution to the hole a 1B. Some of the more popular requests and desires among fans were to trade for Alonso, the signing of Kotchman, or the signing of Pena. The Rays, presumably doubting Kotchman could maintain his 2011 success, allowed him to walk, instead signing fan-favorite Carlos Pena. A few draysbay posters, including sc_monsta1015 and td32, nailed the prediction, expecting the Rays to sign Pena. Even though only a few posters correctly foretold the signing, I'd imagine few are disappointed with the results.
Question #5. Which, if any, starting pitcher will the Rays trade during the offseason?
The Rays currently have eight starting pitchers worthy of making the starting rotation. Whether it was due to the lack of a market or Friedman's reluctance to trade a player when his value was low (Davis and Niemann), none of the pitchers were traded. Only nomoredevil correctly predicted the outcome of the question, saying the following:
The Rays will listen to offers for SPs. Whether any get dealt larger depends on the quality of those offers. Would not be surprised to see Davis or Niems moved to the ’pen, and Cobb fill the ’sixth starter’ role (either in Durham or the ’pen) formerly held by Sonny.
Overall, the offseason has been an exciting and encouraging one by most measures. Now that the offseason has come and gone, the results of the Ray's offseason efforts can now be observed and examined.