Rays & Upton Need a New Home/where are the hitters
Tropicana Field is the least appealing place in the majors to play baseball. Seems like even with banks and banks of lighting that place will always be too dark by major league standards. A new stadium is a political football that's been tossed around for a decade, but that team really needs a new home at an outdoor stadium or at a domed facility with a retractable roof.
BJ Upton is simply not getting the job done. Seeing him strikeout twice with the bases loaded against the Yankees last night was painful. When one hit could have widened the Rays three-run lead to put away the Yankees, Upton couldn't deliever. The Yankees eventually won that game, tying it in the 8th and winning it in the 9th.
Since an outstanding sophomore season in the bigs in 2007, where Upton went 24Hr/82RBI/.300 B.Avg. and a four home run performance against the Red Sox in the 2008 playoffs, Upton has clearly regressed. Now he appears to be at best someone who will hit .245, with 19 HR and 60 RBI. I'm sure the Rays hitting coachs must be at their wits end with him, but despite Upton's early career success, the league's pitchers have figured him out. Consequently, he'll be a constant disppointment to Rays' fans, who will always remember when his potential seemed almost unlimited. Perhaps a new team and a new league might help Upton.
While the Rays seem to develop numerous pitching prospects with the ability to succeed in the majors and there are yet others on the horizon (Matt Moore, just promoted to AAA is Baseball America's #3 prospect in all organization's minor leagues and is #1 among pitchers) the organization simply must focus now on drafting good position players who can hit or else they will never again be able to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox. Their narrow one game victory over the Yankees to take the American League East title last season will simply be regarded as a fluke.
Finally, the losing pitchers in one run consecutive losses: Adam Russell losing in a marathon extra inning loss to Boston Sunday and Alexander Torres losing to the Yankees Monday when he walked in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning in his major leagues debut, were both immediately sent back to the minors. Good way to kill these kids' confidence. It's much easier to scapegoat them than admit that the Rays lack of hitting is the cause of most of their losses and that the organization is in desperate need of proven major league hitters.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 07-19-2011 at 08:18 AM.
I just cannot see a new stadium being built here in the Tampa Bay area. The lease on the Trop runs thru 2027, and the mayor of St. Pete intends to enforce it as long as there are the Rays. He refuses to negotiate with the owner, except to say the taxpayers of St Pete would need to be reimbursed for breaking the lease if the team builds another stadium in Pinellas County. The mayor of Tampa is starting to campaign to have the team on that side of the bridge, but the taxpayers of both counties don't want it built on the back of their taxes. The unemployment rate is still over 10% in Tampa and 1 of 4 homes are in foreclosure. People have more important things to worry about than a new baseball stadium.
It's hard to believe, but Upton leads the team in HRs and RBIs, and projects out to around 25-27 HRs and 90-95 RBIs. He must also lead all of MLB in backward K's, and last night he didn't hustle again on a check swing groundout to Teixiera who turned it into a DP. Fans are so frustrated with his frequent lack of hustle and wouldn't be surprised to see him get traded. If we get swept by the Yankees this week, we will be sellers and I would not be shocked to see Upton and Shields traded.
Adam Russell was DFA'ed not sent to the minors. And he's not a kid per se, he's 28 and been in the big leagues since 2008, having pitched for the CWS and San Diego. He just was not consistent enough, but would probably be re-signed for AAA if no one picks him up. Torres will be back up at some point, he was just brought up last night because of that 16 inning marathon Sunday night, and we were out of bodies. Cruz is now on the DL, and Farnsworth is not available tonight. We knew the bullpen would be a weak link this year after getting decimated in FA, and they are starting to wear down now.
I agree our lack of hitting is affecting our pitchers mentally. The starters feel they need to throw shutouts. The relievers are piling up too many games and innings. We have drafted position players the last 2 drafts (Guerrieri was the lone exception) and we have had a lot of picks too, especially this year. I really wish they had drafted Posey instead of Tim Beckham, that's been a burr in my side for years.
Is the current location that bad?
It irritates me when these national writers want the Rays to be contracted because the Rays don't draw 30,000+ game like the Yanks , Phillies and Red Sox. They act as if the economy isn't in a shambles and foreclosures don't exist in Florida.
I'm a Floridian living in S. Florida and let me guess. Most of the baseball fans around Tampa follow the Yanks, Red Sox, Mets, Phillies and Cubs and not the Rays just like the situation in S. Florida and the Marlins. The perception is that there are no baseball fans in S. Florida. That's wrong, there just aren't many Marlins fans. It's a strange phenomenon.
The Trop was built by Piniellas County before a team was found to play in it. MLB told them not to build it, yet then used the Trop as a backup plan to get stadiums built in the south side of Chicago, in Seattle and in San Francisco. It was built in a not so great part of downtown St. Petersburg, surrounded by office buildings that get deserted at 5PM. There is some night life around the Trop, just not enough. And the population centers that the team would draw from are in the northern part of the county and in the northern suburbs of Tampa itself. Trying to go across Tampa Bay during rush hour to get to a game is a nightmare.
Originally Posted by Richard
And yes, Richard, the transplants around here do not give up their allegiances to the teams where they came from. They also then raise their kids to root for their former teams instead of their hometown team. They will go to the Trop if it involves their old team, but fail to realize they will not be able to do that if the Rays end up moving somewhere else because of a lack of attention.
If Upton doesn't improve at the plate, make more contact and hit for a higher average he's in danger of becoming the 21st Century's, poor man's version of Dave Kingman. He's already got the .230-.240 average and 150 plus strikeout seasons down pat. Unfortunately, he's never going to reach the heights of Kingman in home runs (442 career HR) and RBI.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 07-27-2011 at 08:33 AM.
Looks like the Rays offered either Neimann, Davis or Cobb to the Cards for Rasmus but were turned down
Plenty of other suitors though...Clippard or Storen from the Nats, or a deal involving Brandon Belt from SF would work for me, and we put Jennings in CF to replace Upton.
And Upton is still here...unless Friedman thinks he can get more for him in the offseason (like the Delmon Young deal), he may have overvalued him this July. Maybe Upton can stop worrying so much about being traded and start hitting the damn ball instead. If he had wanted to be here so bad, why hasn't he and his agent tried and worked out a long term deal instead of going to arbitration so often?