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Rays News and Links: Level of excitement 4?

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Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Rays News

It’s just practice, but nice to have actual baseball images to enjoy, as 30 players are currently at camp in Port Charlotte ($)

Rays to sign veteran reliever Aaron Loup to a minor league deal. Loup is a lefty who was with the Padres last year, but injuries kept him largely sidelined. The 32 year old has spent most of his career in Toronto and has had some good years, posting a career 3.45 ERA. He’s sort of side-arm-ish and relies on a sinker and cutter. Here’s some video of him pitching against the Rays a few years ago:

More on the Emilio Pagan trade:

From Ben Clemens at Fangraphs. A lot of substance here. Some snippets: Pagan could well regress (no surprise here); Logan Driscoll (the prospect going to the Rays in addition to Manuel Margot) is meh. The takeaway:

The Rays made the kind of trade that the Rays make. They picked an asset they considered overvalued, a reliever coming off of a career year (though with great underlying numbers), and sent him out before he got expensive.

Hopefully Blake Snell hasn’t come up with choice words for his new teammates.

We may never know exactly what was bedeviling Jose Alvarado in 2019, but perhaps having his family with him will give him some piece of mind, per Marc Topkin ($)

Some of the newly acquired/promoted Rays have been assigned uniform numbers:

Hunter Renfroe - 11

Manuel Margot - 13

Lucius Fox - 19

Vidal Brujan - 22

Brian O’Grady - 31

Kevin Padlo - 37

Jose Martinez - 40

Ronaldo Hernandez - 55

Randy Arozarena - 56

It’s not even March, and already those national media folks are dragging out the Rays attendance jokes! I guess these guys never get rusty, right? ESPN columnist David Schoenfield considers one thing to be excited about for each team and does the Rays no favors. First, his thing to be excited about for the 2020 Rays is....Wander Franco. Who will almost certainly not be making his major league debut this year. The Rays won 96 games last year, yet he can’t find a single reason for excitement on the actual 40 man roster? Then comes this:

Level of excitement: 4. It should be a 5, but I’m not sure Rays fans know how to get that excited (beyond the die-hards). They won 96 games last year and their attendance was lower than it was in 2017.

I love when national columnists opt for cheap shots to avoid doing actual research.

Stadium Non-news

Apparently the Rays met with Mayor Castor and Commissioner Ken Hagan about stadium plans in Hillsborough County/Tampa. Tell me if you think anything came out of it based on this statement:

In this article, Mayor Castor concedes that the Rays mostly want to talk about a split season but optimistically notes that a full season may still be “on the table” ($).

Other News

The Red Sox traded Mookie Betts and David Price (finally) in part to save on their salaries but also to save money by getting below the luxury tax threshold. So how much are we talking about? Both Jayson Stark and Craig Edwards explain.

New playoff format, complete with reality TV component, for 2022? I don’t know how reliable this Joel Sherman New York Post report is, and any changes would need to be negotiated with the MLBPA, but how about expanded playoffs where the top teams get to choose their opponent? If they’d had this in 2010, Rays could have skipped Cliff Lee.