It was a strong year at DRaysBay and we appreciate your continued readership.
For those curious or interested, these were the most-read articles at the site in 2021!
This wasn’t complicated. When MLB felt the need to change rule enforcement for all of baseball when only a handful had pushed the line too far, several players were injured. That included several stars like Tyler Glasnow and Jacob deGrom, but also notably not the players being targeted by the rule enforcement change (while MLB went back to being Kermit sipping tea).
The reigning AL champion, Tampa Bay’s entire season changes trajectory with this injury, and the decision to change the approach to pitching rules mid-season can be pointed to as the biggest reason the Rays season didn’t end with another boat parade in Tampa Bay.
It’s a testament to the community here at DRaysBay that a Game Day Thread cracks the top-ten of the year. This was sadly the final GDT of the season.
And it makes sense that what follows was the recap of that final game.
Surprising trades are always big draws in readership, so it makes sense that any deal with the Red Sox would draw eyes. Springs became the most notable name in this trade, even though his season sadly ended early through injury.
A follow-up to the No. 1 article of the year (spoilers!) was when Mayor Kriseman narrowed the redevelopment proposals in front of the city to a final-four. There would eventually be a “winner” but not until it was clear a future administration would make their own plans for Tropicana Field, so all of these proposals would be for naught.
If this trade was an emoji, it would be the smiling while crying face. This deal made room for Wander Franco to take over at SS for the Tampa Bay Rays and sent Adames to a team that he could blossom into a team leader and top defender, while bringing the Rays some much needed pitching. It was sad to see The Kid go, but this deal was a win-win in the moment and in retrospect.
Did the Rays make a salary dump of one of their best pitchers? When they needed pitching? This trade raised eyebrows, and still does for many fans, especially after Hill continued to pitch with a sub-4.00 ERA as a starter when the Rays needed innings.
The Rays had a site for a new stadium in Tampa... and that site has other plans now. While it’s possible the Rays could still be included, it seems more likely the Rays would build across the street, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
This was a shocker, in that it was hard to believe the Rays pulled it off. Former closer Diego Castillo’s velocity was down, but the Rays were able to turn him into another reliever of similar value (JT Chargois) and a prospect (Austin Shenton). Castillo stayed a sub-3.00 ERA reliever in Seattle, despite a balooning FIP, but Chargois pitched to a 1.90 ERA with the Rays. What was Dipoto thinking?
Here was a fun and beautiful article to write, pulling together seven proposals for what could be done with the 80-acre Tropicana Field site — with or without a Rays stadium. It’s fun to revisit and scroll through just what might be possible for the future of the Rays current home.