So many Rays fans felt a connection to Willy Adames, I figured he needed his own farewell links post.
Some of us have been following Adames since he came to the Rays in the 2014 David Price trade. The other pieces in the trade maybe were underwhelming. Drew Smyly had some potential but was injury prone. Nick Franklin was....did anyone ever think he’d be good? But, we were told, the big get was an 18 year old in the low minors, Willy Adames. We watched him work his way up through the Rays system and debut in 2018, and since that debut he has seemed to be the emotional center of what became a successful Rays team.
This Catwalk extra is not meant to analyze the trade, is it simply a Willy Adames appreciation post.
There are some memorable baseball moments. His first major league hit, a home run off of Chris Sale:
And later that season, his first walkoff hit:
There would be more walkoff hits to come; this one, from 2019, kept the Rays in the Wild Card race and eliminated the Red Sox:
While Adames struggled a little with his throws when we first saw him in St. Petersburg, he developed into a first-rate shortstop. He has the quick reflexes, the range, the flawless baseball instincts and the grace to master that demanding position. Here are some highlight plays from 2020:
And finally, Adames was in the middle of the most exciting defensive play I have ever had the great fortune to see in person:
But we all know that Adames was more to this team than his on field accomplishments. No matter how his own game was going, he was the most enthusiastic cheerleader on the bench, he was the first guy out to urge on a teammate and congratulate a hitter. We remember Willy’s ALDS game 4 for the relay throw, but when the game hung in the balance and a shaky Blake Snell was struggling to close it out, it was also Adames who ran to the mound to settle him down.
I think Rays fans largely understand the thinking behind this trade, but few of us got through Friday without shedding a tear or two.
Dang. These pictures of Willy Adames saying goodbye to Randy Arozarena... pic.twitter.com/jt4WdG9WjM— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 22, 2021
Adames has wasted no time settling in with the Brewers. He has already gotten a few hits and RBI, and he is already making friends: