Maybe the Rays lineup has finally turned a corner. After Desmond Jennings' leadoff homer in the first inning off of Jake Arrieta in the first inning on Tuesday, the Rays' bats disappeared for quite a while, but finally in the 8th they came alive, getting an opposite-field home run from Kelly Johnson and a 2-run shot from Evan Longoria to close within 5-4. That would be the final as the Rays lost to the Orioles, but maybe more promising hitting days are ahead. Whether that is true or not, having Wil Myers in the major leagues were certainly change everything.
Jonah Keri of Grantland discussed the situation behind the Rays' offensive ineptitude and Myers being kept at Triple-A. Keri reviewed what we've heard about a million times, the fact that the Rays are going to try to keep Myers in the minors until the Super Two deadline passes, but then he talks about something very interesting: whether the Rays have approached Myers about an extension.
Given Tampa Bay got that first Longoria deal done, and also approached B.J. Upton with a long-term proposal when Upton was still in Triple-A, you have to figure they've at least had preliminary talks with Myers about locking him up for six or more years. Of course, both parties need to be interested for a deal to happen. Myers and his agent might well decide to forgo the security of a big contract right at the start of his major league career in favor of bigger riches if he doesn't sign and then puts up the kind of big numbers many expect. If a deal does get done, it would make the point of service time and arbitration clocks moot, and you'd see Myers up soon. Meanwhile, the longer they wait for a call-up, the more production they potentially lose.
Does Myers not signing an extension as of now mean that an extension won't happen and that the Rays basically have no choice but to keep him in the minors until the Super Two deadline goes by? The counterpoint to that is that the Rays didn't announce their deal with Longoria until he had already made the major leagues even though he had agreed to it at Triple-A, but until we hear otherwise, we have to assume that an extension has not gotten done and may never get done, forcing the Rays to incur moderate risk and maybe more for this season for the sake of the long-term.
Other than the money, is there any other reason for the Rays to keep Myers at Triple-A Durham? The answer we've all heard is that Myers needs to work on his plate discipline, but as Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo told Matt Eddy, that's only part of the equation.
Myers understands that he’s in Durham to start 2013 so that he can iron out his defensive play and improve his baserunning. “He’s going to get to know (baserunning coordinator) Skeeter Barnes pretty well,” Montoyo said.
If keeping Myers in the minors not only saves the Rays money but will make him a better player in the long-term, that changes things a little bit. And with Myers needing more work and maybe not quite ready for the big leagues, the biggest source for optimism for the Rays offense may not be Myers but, as Keri talked about, simple regression from this Rays offense. Myers should make the Rays' lineup significantly better when he arrives, but we know for sure that the Rays' hitters are a lot better than they're playing right now, and as their luck balances out, everything could change for this Rays team.
What is Myers going through as he stays in the minor leagues despite knowing he's essentially ready for prime-time? Talking to MLB Trade Rumors' Chuck Myron, Alex Cobb offered insight into Myers based on his personal experience.
“Initially, maybe, that’s their first instinct, is to get mad,” Cobb said. “But I think when your head cools down, you prevail from whatever the emotions you’re going through, and you realize that it’s a smart business decision. And it is, because from the outside looking in now, you realize how much they need to do those type of things to stay competitive. I think it’s become an understanding that now you pay your dues, and you do it, and you eventually become a better big leaguer for it, and you have a great career afterwards.”
The Rays' ultimate goal with Wil Myers is to make him as successful as possible, and as he internalizes that that is the case, he can't be too incensed at the way the Rays are keeping him at Triple-A. He wants to be in the majors and he will be soon enough, and he just has to bide time until that happens.
Everyone is driving themselves insane right now watching the Rays' offense, from the Rays themselves from the front office to the fans, and an easy source of hope is to want the Rays to call up Myers immediately. But we have to understand that everything isn't that simple and that the aggravation we're all going through will end in a matter of time whether Myers is called up immediately or not.
Here are your other links for today:
- Buster Olney discussed the trade situation around David Price and Giancarlo Stanton. Olney's best guess as to the favorites for Price: the Cubs, the Red Sox (not seeing that), the Cardinals, and the Rangers.
- Matt Moore has been a whole lot better in the regular season than in spring training. He told Roger Mooney that "he’s no longer working on sharpening his pitches, he’s working on getting batters out."
- The Rays acquired lefty Jeff Beliveau in a trade with the Rangers. No one has really talked much about this move, but I think I did a pretty decent job analyzing it here.