Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season so far. Personally, I’m bored without baseball! Football is a distraction but its 1 day a week. Anyway our Rays finally made some moves we can talk about!
SP Edwin Jackson has been traded to the Detroit Tigers for home grown OF Matt Joyce. Ok, so we kinda figured E-Jax was going to be the odd man out with SP David Price looking so good after his call up. Price pitched well in some pressure packed situations and proved his future worth. Jackson struggled with his focus throughout the season and into the 2nd season. Granted he won 14 games BUT we have to remember wins and losses belong to the team. They may get credited to the SP but if he did not have the defense behind him and the BP to bail him out of a few situations he very well could have finished with a lot less than 14 wins. A victory earned by Jackson did not come without its issues usually. Jackson did not have the mental strength to come out of the BP which is unfortunate. He has the stuff to be a great closer. Personally I think Jackson will be one of those players that never can get over that hump and live up to all the potential he clearly has.
So, that being said lets look at Matt Joyce.
Joyce is a 24 year old LH OF. He had decent numbers in 92 games with Detroit (.252, 16 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR and 33 RBI). He has been blowing up his BA to a healthy .292 in the Mexican Winter League. Joyce has pop in his bat, has a gun for an arm and has a little bit of speed. Matt can play all 3 OF positions as well. And equally important is the Rays will control him for 6 years and he has options. I can see Joyce beginning the year in AAA as Gross and Perez alternate in RF until he is called up midseason. I like the outfield of Crawford, Upton and Joyce at some point in the season. I think this deal is another Andrew Freidman gem!
The only other big name item to cover is the non-tender of crowd favorite, Jonny Gomes. Ok, let’s not act surprised here. We all knew this was going to happen. Gomes may be a great team player but he is not worth $1.275mil or more. His salary would have probably gone up in arbitration even though he hit only .182 with 8 HR and 21 RBIs in 77 games this season. People love to argue that Gomes wasn’t given a fair shake, Maddon didn’t give him time, yada, yada, yada. Fact is folks – he was given plenty of opportunity and failed PERIOD. Gomes did a great job being a great teammate but between the lines he was less than spectacular. Being a poor fielder Gomes best hope is that a team may look at him for the DH role. Good Luck Jonny!
So folks…..that’s all to report as the Rays have been fairly quiet so far. But it’s still not over! They have spoken to a few potential DH – Milton Bradley (who is also being courted by the forever cursed Cubbies), Jason Giambi, and Bobby Abreu with a few others still looking for work, Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell to name a few.
So folks – keep checking back!!