Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
It’s that time of year when we gather around the table and, if you’re anything like me, your family asks you whether the Rays are going to be better next year. My answer is “No, they’ll probably be about the same, but because of the inherent uncertainty in a baseball season that might be good enough to make the playoffs.”
This is not a very compelling answer.
Then I tell them about Brent Honeywell and Willy Adames, and how the Wilson Ramos signing was always about 2018, and how they’ll need to sign someone to play first base, and by this time everyone except for my Aunt Mary has gotten up and gone somewhere else.
At some point, someone will also ask about if the proposed stadium location is good, and I’ll say yes, but that $650 million is a lot of money to have to find in your coat pocket. Everyone will agree, but we’ll move on. This is dangerously close to talking politics.
But I can talk about the Rays here without people’s eyes glazing over. I’m thankful for that.
I’m also thankful for Honeywell, not because he’ll be good (he will), but because he’ll be interesting. You may not have heard, but he throws a screwball.
Look, I’m a pitching nerd. I’m fascinated by how different pitches and sequences interact with each other. And I don’t know what a screwball does.
Mostly pitchers are like other pitchers, just with small differences on the margins, and it can be hard work to find something new. But this will not be hard.
So for Thanksgiving, here’s Honeywell. The first pitch in this video is a screwball.
- Eno Sarris looked at current position on the win curve, and asked which teams would benefit most from adding quality this offseason. The Rays are one of them, who should perhaps be buyers.
- But hold the phone. Max Gruber did some really excellent work rethinking the win curve to include uncertainty. This is great, really. Read it. The “highly leveraged” portion of the win curve is flatter than we’ve necessarily been thinking, and potentially argues against the Rays as buyers, in the way Sarris lays out.
- The Rays have been helping to support hurricane relief efforts in the Florida Keys, writes Bill Chastain.
- MLB Trade Rumors compared free-agent pitchers Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.
- Merritt Rohlfing looked at Mookie Betts’s comparatively down offensive season and investigated whether it was linked to increased patience at the plate. He found that that seems like a false narrative. I link because “patience leads to not hitting the ball hard” is a narrative that gets trotted around a decent amount, and we should give it a similarly critical eye when it’s Rays players. (This is something likely to come up on Thanksgiving.)
- A player who once seemed like he had a chance to make the majors with the Rays will now give it a shot in Chicago (h/t Topkin).
The @whitesox signed minor league free agent 3B/RF Patrick Leonard, who played at Triple-A Durham this year and ranked 4th in IL with 32 2B. The @RaysBaseball acquired him after 2012 in the Wil Myers trade with the @Royals.— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) November 22, 2017
- Changes in the clubhouse and training staff.
The #Rays today promoted trainer Mike Sandoval from @DurhamBulls to assistant athletic trainer with @RaysBaseball Also - Ryan Denlinger was promoted to home clubhouse manager, Tyler Wall home equipment manager, & Ryan Riddle asst home clubhouse manager— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) November 21, 2017
- And Rocco Baldelli describes his new job.