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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: The view from first place is sweet

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Rays News

The Rays completed a sweep against the Orioles this weekend, and start the week in first place in the AL East, with a three game lead over the Red Sox. Tampa Bay has the best record in baseball. They will be taking on the first place Chicago White Sox this week, likely to be a challenging series.

How many pitchers does one team need? Apparently a lot. The Rays have traded for reliever Matt Wisler, sending pitcher prospect Michael Plassmeyer to the San Francisco Giants. Ryan Sherriff was DFA’d to make room for Wisler, who has no options. With the Rays facing a roster crunch at the end of the season, don’t be surprised to see Rule 5 eligible prospects get traded this year.

Let’s hear it for the olds! I get a stabbing pain in my hip just standing up, but somehow 41 year old Rich Hill is still playing major league baseball. Marc Topkin writes about his strong 2021 ($).

Ken Rosenthal looks at the Rays depth and concludes they may be a low payroll team but they have “rich people problems” of how to give everyone enough playing time ($).

A new book from New York-based Andy Martino delves further into the Astros cheating scandal. They were punished for actions in 2019, but did the cheating extend beyond that? Marc Topkin considers implications for the Rays in the 2019 ALDS ($)

Ooh some intra-FSU rivalries:

Stadium saga: St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman has now walked back his claim that he can’t talk to the Rays while the law suit from their minority partners is pending ($)

Around the League

Tyler Glasnow and his new slider are featured in this article on aces with new pitches.

Eno Sarris discusses Stuff +, a new metric for evaluating pitching. Rich Hill and Shane McClanahan are mentioned ($)

(Recent) old friend alert — AWWW (the article is paywalled but the tweet and headline say it all):

And apparently all roads lead, eventually, from Tampa Bay to Milwaukee. Hunter Strickland had been traded by the Rays to the Angels; the Angels released him and he was picked up by the Brewers. Oh, and small sample sizes of course but:

An early draft cheat sheet, from ESPN.

The baseball world paid respects to Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who passed away this week. ($) A native of the greater Tampa Bay area, Grant was a standout pitcher with the Minnesota Twins — and also, apparently, an accomplished musician.

Finally, I am reluctant to luxuriate in Schadenfreude because of how often that comes back to haunt you, but I would just note that yesterday the Yankees mustered just four hits while being shut out by the Phillies, and the Red Sox pitchers gave up eight homers to the Blue Jays en route to an 18-4 loss. You hate to see it.