This was a special Rays season and an incredible year at DRaysBay, despite the pandemic and lack of games we published some really great work.
Before we get to the top 20 articles, which is a listing of our top articles overall, here are a couple others that popped this last year on google searches.
- Wander Franco shows major league stuff in spring training outing - Baseball’s top prospect will always be search worthy
- Rays trade Nate Lowe to Texas Rangers for three prospects - Through sourcing we were able to be one of the first with news and full write ups on the prospects by the time the trade news was announced
- Four Brandon Lowe trades that could make sense for the Rays - Could the Rays top hitter from 2020 be traded? Maybe!
- Rowdies under political fire from City of St. Petersburg - The Fire Marshal caused odd and unexpected drama for the Rowdies in 2020
- Randy Arozarena’s place in history - The greatest post season performance of all time
- Peter Fairbanks is good, how did he get that way? - 2019 analysis suddenly very relevant!
If you have not read those above or below, for the most part I encourage you to do so!
The Top 20 from 2020
The following links are the top hits on the site in 2020.
DRaysBay is a community, so you’ll see among the Top-20 game day threads from the playoffs. I love this! It’s a testament to you, our readership. This one had 830 comments.
The land under Tropicana Field is valuable, and whether it can be reclaimed by the city was a key focus in 2020, at least it was before the pandemic occurred.
One of the most important moves of the trade deadline, when you think about it. This deal re-aligned the Rays outfield ahead of the playoffs.
The one and only time we discussed this “Rays” news on the site...
Following the high of Game 4 and local boy Brett Phillips’s heroics, the vibes were riding high. 970 comments.
Oh hey, this trade deadline deal suddenly feels super important.
Once Blake Snell had been traded, JT Morgan offered an even-handed deep dive on the return, with the following conclusion:
Because the 2021 Rays are worse after this trade I am disappointed as a fan. The Rays have typically traded players with two years of control remaining to optimize returns, but this time they jumped the gun by a year while being in the position to be a really good team in 2021.
The return feels slightly light for one of the top pitchers in the majors. Previous comparisons for a trade of Blake Snell’s quality and contract could have been a Chris Sale return. I would feel a lot more comfortable if the second piece was something better than Mejia, but that value may be have been shifted down to the fourth piece in Hunt. For the Rays having four plus pieces diversifies their risk, and makes some sense.
Ultimately, this is a solid return for a team looking to rebuild, but a difficult trade to swallow for a team looking to return to the World Series in consecutive years.
Before the Rays traded Snell, JT also had three leading candidates for a deal in late November. After looking at the two teams rumored as destinations at the time, he offered his own proposed landing spot: San Diego.
JT’s return had Cole Wilcox, but expected the Rays to target Lamet instead of Pitino in the return for more of a win-now push. Instead of a fourth player coming back, JT’s proposal also had the Rays moving KK’s contract in the deal instead. We work really hard to be right or at least well sourced or well reasoned on articles like these!
Not as many comments survive in this one thanks to a bunch of Astros fans who were wreaking havoc, but man y’all put up a fight! Only 700 comments survive here after the ban hammer was dropped on the rando’s.
A frustrating loss from the playoffs! The Rays got to Cole but still dropped this one. Jared Ward took us through the game inning by inning to break it all down.
JT Morgan again with the quality analysis. This time he breaks down how, “Tampa Bay turns a back up first baseman into three high risk prospects as Lowe goes to a team in need of his services.”
AIRPLANE MODE. This was “The Brett Phillips Game” and one of the most entertaining baseball games of our life times. This one is worth re-visiting for the blue-shaded comments that were rec’d for posterity...
After the Rays dealt former first rounder Matthew Liberatore to the Cardinals, it was reasonable to wonder about the return. This trade analysis from Dom Vega was a quality breakdown of the outfielders the Rays acquired.
This was an unexpected one! Tampa Bay shipping out their closer and bringing back a catcher the week before pitchers and catchers report was a head scratcher, but the move helped balance the Rays roster, and also included the rare MLB pick swap!
A trade that broke the Rays mold, this was another surprising deal from the front office. In this article I called Arozarena, “a prospect who should take on an everyday role in the near future” and described the outfielder as a “pre-hype” prospect typical of the Rays Way.
This question will plague Rays fans forever and ever, and here our masthead offered written reactions. We were quite divided on this one!
Speaking of pulling Blake Snell... 1,268 comments on the final game of the 2020 season.
This article is the less even-handed analysis of the Blake Snell trade, and it’s one of mine. Where JT was charitable in his analysis above, I honestly was not, writing:
Overall, this is a devastating loss for a team coming off a World Series appearance, and a possible death knell for a team that also was too poor to keep Charlie Morton despite having his contract option in hand.
Without drastic, unexpected improvements this is not a World Series rotation, and a sad day to be a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays.
We shall see if that instinctive response proves true for 2021. The Rays have a couple months left to make some deals!
One of the biggest surprises of 2020 was an interview from the Rays owner, and his only interview thus far following the team’s loss in the World Series.
In a sit down with Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays owner appeared to be burning bridges with his players (who “just sort of wandered out” onto the World Series field?), front office (who experienced “soft and easy going” layoffs?), local politicians (Stu was “really beyond pleased on how things are progressing” in Montreal when compared to Tampa Bay), and fanbase (“it’s going to be three to five years” for team finances to recover).
After our article, the Tampa Bay Times released a partial transcript on the portion of the interview about the players to help provide context, where he added at the time, “if we didn’t like them as players we wouldn’t have them on the team.”
This was a sad moment for Rays fans, in which Arozarena was captured on video complaining to a police officer about the level of care his daughter (who he does not live with) was receiving. In the video, he is seen pacing between his car and a crowd of people while carrying his daughter. The family of his daughter made an allegation of abduction as a result.
Under local regulations, Arozarena was detained for 48-hours after the incident. A judge presiding over the accusations found no evidence of wrong doing for Arozarena, and the team’s ALCS MVP was released. You can read more about the aftermath here.
2020 was a challenging year for all, and was filled with highs and lows. May those highs be cherished for a long time by you and yours. Thanks for reading, and if you are part of the community for joining in the conversation. Here’s to 2021.