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The Rays Tank: Spring Training Is Here!

Finally! The long, cold winter is over! Well, not really, but even if it may still be mid-February, we at least know that down in Port Charlotte, the Tampa Bay Rays have started Spring Training. Today is truly a glorious day.

There aren't any pictures in the queue yet from the Rays' camp --- C'MON GETTY, GET ON IT! -- but we'll be sure to post some later today as they become available. There's not much else we can do at this point beyond looking at photos of ST and oo-ing and ahh-ing at baseballs being thrown around, but for me, that's enough right now.

Other news and notes this morning:

  • How was Fan Fest? I'm interested to hear people's thoughts. It always seems like a great time, even though I can never go.
  • The Pirates and Yankees finally completed their rumored Burnett trade on Friday, leaving the Yankees open to sign Raul Ibanez this morning. Neither development is unexpected, but I don't like the idea of Ibanez's power in Yankee Stadium. That's not going to be particularly fun to face.
  • Tim Wakefield retired on Friday, inspiring Joe Poz to pen a lengthy blog post on him (and knuckleballers in general). I love knucklers, which is likely the main reason I overpaid for R.A. Dickey in a fantasy draft last night.
  • Kevin Goldstein released his top 20 prospects list for the Rays, and he seems a little more pessimistic on the system than others. Although pessimistic isn't the exact right word -- he has tempered expectations about the system once you look behind Matt Moore. I can't necessarily disagree with his logic, but I suppose I have a large amount of faith (possibly too much faith) in the Rays' player development program. They have plenty of players with a number of tools, so even though their are question marks everywhere, I really like the system's depth right now.

    Also, Goldstein envisions Brandon Guyer as a fourth outfielder, and I don't know if I can get behind that.
  • This is another BPro post behind a paywall, but R.J. Anderson previewed the AL East with Jason Collette. It's a fun read and I definitely recommend it if you have a BPro subscription.
  • Brian Cashman shared some thoughts about the Wild Card this weekend, and in the course of advocating the new Wild Card system, he dropped a subtle dig at the Rays: "We conceded the division two years ago cause of the previous setup. [...] I'm not taking away from Tampa Bay's eastern division title, but we didn't try to win the division."

    Okay, calling that a "dig" is too strong. It's true, isn't it? We all knew that the Yanks were trying to get ready for the playoffs, and honestly, the same can be said of the Rays. Both teams glided into the playoffs without any real effort, and neither team seemed to actively want to win the division. So in my mind, this doesn't cheapen the 2010 division crown, and it is yet another reason to change the Wild Card format.