Yesterday was an off day for the Tampa Bay Rays, hence a slow news day for your favorite team. Although, there is always something happening in baseball, as Jake McGee threw 30 pitches in his third bullpen session of the Spring. The 2014 top closer was quite pleased with his sequence and plans to throw "harder" in his next two sessions before starting to face hitters again.
"I was holding back quite a bit, not trying to push anything yet," McGee said. "I was just holding back quite a bit, [since it was] just my third bullpen. [I'll] probably have five more. So probably 70 to 80 percent. I'll probably push it a little harder my last two bullpens before I face hitters.
"I feel really good, but I know if I try to push it too much or throw too hard, it will set me back longer than it should be. So I think that's why I haven't had too many setbacks either. Because I haven't pushed it too much. Because I know my arm is healing itself. I know it's structurally OK. Everything's good in there. It's just the tissue has to heal. If I push it more, it's going to set the tissue back more."
According to the Rays official website, McGee expects a return in the majors as soon as late April, which could be a great asset to the team bullpen, even if Brad Boxberger and Kevin Jepsen should do just fine during his absence.
After a career year, McGee will certainly try to keep on his great 2014 form where recorded 19 saves in three and a half months as a closer for the Tampa Bay Rays. A great run in the role earned him the fourth highest rank in the league among relievers per fWAR, only behind late innings maestros Dellin Betances, Wade Davis and Aroldis Chapman. In 71.1 innings, McGee notched a 1.73 FIP, while striking out almost one third of the batters he faced and walking only 5.8% of them.
The Rays will play the Minnesota Twins today at 1.05 PM as Matt Andriese (1.59 ERA this Spring) will face right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson (and his 3.29 Spring ERA). The Rays have an even record with nine wins and nine losses and will certainly try to take over the Twin Cities franchise to get over the .500 mark... Oh who are we kidding these numbers don't matter.
- A new Cuban sensation signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as Hector Olivera was inked to a $62.5M contract, along with a $28M signing bonus. Olivera won't be alone in the Californian franchise either, as he will get back with Juan Uribe, Alex Guerrero, Pablo Fernandez and Erisbel Arruebarrena, four other Cubans signed by the Dodgers in the past three years.
- The Hardball Times published today the new "all-time triples list" thanks to the great work of Miles Wray who was bothered enough to make separate rankings for the all-time leaders, the post-1947 best triple hitters and the current leaders. As of now, Carl Crawford stands atop of the league in this category, although Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins could claim the spot in case of a successful season from them.
- Eno Sarris from Fangraphs published his positional rankings for first and second base. The Rays are respectively the 24th and the 12th best team in these categories, yet big question marks are still around Nick Franklin and a good 2015 season could help Tampa Bay to end up with a better ranking in the middle infield.
- Russell Carleton from Baseball Prospectus focused on team chemistry and especially high fives among baseball players. In an article where 50% of the talk concerns his family, Carleton tries to analyze what gets a clubhouse going.
- Spending millions of dollars on players is everyday routine in the MLB, but sometimes it can become very problematic. Players don't perform as you hoped for, they get injured and you get stuck with a mammoth contract that nobody else wants. But is there enough "bad contracts" in the majors to build an entire team? Grant Brisbee from SBNation thinks so as he put up a team out of the worst contracts in baseball, just for you.
- Meanwhile, Brian Dozier signed a four-year extension worth $20 million dollars with the Minnesota Twins. A deal that can be identified as "safe" per Craig Edwards from Fangraphs, even though this extension does not cover any free agency years.