The Rays swept a three game series with the New York Mets this weekend. They missed seeing Jacob DeGrom (good news if you are all about the wins, bad news if you had wanted a chance to see the best pitcher in the National League do his thing). They can enjoy an off day today before travelling to Baltimore.
Ji-Man Choi was activated over the weekend; to make room the Rays traded Hunter Strickland to the LA Angels. The Rays had been carrying 14 pitchers, with Choi replacing Strickland their active roster is back to the more common 13 pitchers. Strickland had thrown an impressive 13 innings with the Rays, but he was out of options and the Rays bullpen is crowded.
The Rays are generally known for their young stars, but this year the senior member of their pitching staff is getting some notice. We “olds” are pleased.
Rich Hill hasn't allowed a run in each of his last 3 starts.— Stathead (@Stathead) May 14, 2021
He is the 5th pitcher aged 41 or older to have a 3-start span with 0 runs allowed.
The others: Bartolo Colon (2015), Tim Wakefield (2007), Roger Clemens (2005), Phil Niekro (1984)https://t.co/HEkRfGieO3 pic.twitter.com/kqwdF6elNL
But let’s not forget some of those young stars in waiting. Dispatches from the “future so bright I gotta wear shades” department:
Grand slam. Wander Franco. pic.twitter.com/Ce10Tj2JP3— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) May 15, 2021
GREG JONES WALKOFF GRAND SLAM— BG Hot Rods (@BGHotRods) May 16, 2021
Hot Rods 7 | Tourists 3 pic.twitter.com/qJ9CtOV3Xj
Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to join the party. #BruBomb #BullsUp #OverTheWall https://t.co/IlLPxhh87o pic.twitter.com/OKlW0mU08q— Vidal Brujan (@vidalbrujan) May 16, 2021
Would calling up some of this minor league talent, in particular top prospect Franco, help the Rays compete now? Will Leitch of mlb.com says yes, arguing he’d be better than Adames; Rays beat reporter Marc Topkin says no, and not only to get that extra year of team control ($).
No stadium news, but the candidates vying to replace Rick Kriseman as mayor seem to agree on one thing: Kriseman should hold off on making any further decisions on the Trop site redevelopment and leave it in the hands of the next mayor ($).
Around the League
Evan Longoria is really getting some love from the national baseball media this season. The latest from The Athletic ($).
Recent COVID-19 outbreaks among the Yankees and Padres remind us that the pandemic ain’t over ‘til it’s over (per Fangraphs).
Old friend alert 1:
Jake Hager was drafted by the Rays in 2011, struggled with injuries and less than stellar performance, bounced around as a minor league free agent. His patience paid off as he made his major league debut with the Mets this weekend, and he had kind words for everyone:
Heartfelt words from Jake Hager, a top 2011 #Rays draft pick who made it to big leagues today and debuted at Trop - against #Rays: https://t.co/kYbEZdeG6l— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 16, 2021
Old friend alert 2:
Jesús Aguilar: Stealing Signs. pic.twitter.com/K4RenSHFz7— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 14, 2021
There had been some speculation about where Albert Pujols might land after being dropped by the Angels. Not too many people imagined it would be the defending World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. But that’s exactly where he is signing, per LA Times. He will, of course, be joined by Yoshi Tsutsugo.
Alex Rodriguez lost out on buying the Mets, so he’s buying an NBA team:
Alex Rodriguez's group has come to final terms on its purchase of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Lynx. https://t.co/bgbGqcF3IS— Sportico (@Sportico) May 14, 2021
Stadium news? Not the Rays, the Oakland Athletics are using the threat of relocation to improve their negotiating position with the city. Al Yellon from our Bleed Cubbie Blue sister site thinks it’s an idle threat.
A look at the evolution of sports betting, from ESPN. In the late 1970s, Willie Mays took a part time public relations job with a Bally’s casino (showing up at golf tournaments, that sort of thing) and was banned from baseball. Now Bally’s broadcasts our games and betting is embedded into sports culture.
If you want a story at the intersection of baseball, football and real estate, this one is for you: Derek Jeter has sold his Davis Islands mansion. Tom Brady had been renting it, so now he and his family will need to find a new Tampa home ($).