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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: The gang’s all here

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American League Division Series Game 5: New York Yankees v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Rays News

  • Kevin Cash reports that all players have checked in, including those who needed to quarantine after international travel. And great news: no positive COVID tests among position players!
  • Speaking of AL Manager of the Year Cash: the man led the Rays, despite a pandemic and a slew of injuries, to 71 wins across the 2020 season. We could dissect any of those wins and talk about the many things he’s done right. But no, instead the baseball media will be relitigating that Game 6 loss. Forever. Here’s the latest, as Marc Topkin asks other managers about Cash’s predicament ($).
  • Blake who? A look at Luis Patiño, arguably the key return from the Blake Snell trade ($); and more on Patiño here.
  • Stadium news, or perhaps more accurately, stadium stand-off. I guess relations between St. Pete and the Rays aren’t going well. Kriseman to team: make a commitment or move on!

Or as Beyonce would say:

  • Pitcher Hunter Strickland is spending spring training in a trailer. Makes sense!
  • Sports Illustrated’s Mark Martell says that the Tatis deal shows that a small market team can choose to invest in, rather than shed their stars, suggesting that San Diego is providing a small market alternative to Tampa Bay’s ruthless payroll control. The article has a point, although I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that the Padres and the Rays face identical budget constraints. Both metro areas have similar population (SD is a bit larger) but median income there is $85K in contrast to Tampa Bay’s $53K. San Diego also has higher population living within a 30 minute drive of the stadium and more corporate presence. Nonetheless, I would love to see Rays ownership willing to take the sort of steps they’ve taken lately in San Diego.

Around the League

A few years ago, we had written about a company called Big League Advance, which provided often significant cash advances to promising minor leaguers in exchange for a cut of their future baseball earnings.

Well, discussions about this company have reemerged, largely because Fernando Tatis, who just signed a monster 14-year contract with the Padres, is a BLA client — this means that some percentage of his $340 will go to this company. That’s prompted both the Athletic and the Wall Street Journal to revisit BLA and it’s business model ($).

Also worth mentioning, BLA was in the headlines briefly in 2018 because a young player had filed suit against them, saying he has been manipulated into signing with them. He then retracted that claim. That young player? Francisco Mejia, now with the Rays.

  • Dan Szymoborski ZiPS list of top 100 prospects: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/zips-2021-top-100-prospects
  • Here’s a fun tweet thread about the vocabulary of baseball — no not the official vocabulary but the slang that has been developed by players. Slapdick prospect, anyone? What are your favorite baseballisms?
  • This animation shows us how MLB has become a truly global league. Enjoy: