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Ranking Tampa Bay Rays’ Best All-Star Game Candidates

Who will represent the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2014 MLB All-Star Game?

This question is a reflection of how the team has played so far this season both individually and collectively. 

Since 2008 the question surrounding the Rays’ All-Star selections has been how many players the team would send. The franchise has sent at least two players to the Midsummer Classic each season since changing the name to the Rays.


Tampa Bay Rays All-Stars Since 2008 (via


All-Star (Pos.)


Matt Moore (RHP), Ben Zobrist (INF/OF)


David Price (LHP), Fernando Rodney (RHP)


Matt Joyce (OF), David Price (LHP), James Shields (RHP)


*Carl Crawford (LF), *Evan Longoria (3B), *David Price (LHP), Rafael Soriano (RHP)


Jason Bartlett (SS), Carl Crawford (LF), ºEvan Longoria (3B), Carlos Pena (1B), Ben Zobrist (INF/OF)


Scott Kazmir (LHP), Evan Longoria (3B), Dioner Navarro (C)

*Started game

ºVoted as starter but did not play due to injury

This year will likely be very different. Based on the recent voting results, the Rays will not have a player starting in this year’s All-Star Game. Evan Longoria came the closest, but Josh Donaldson from the Oakland A’s is running away with the lead in votes for third base.

It would be plausible to envision a scenario where the Rays have no player on the team if the rules did not guarantee representation from every team.

Since somebody has to go, who will it be?

This list will look at the most likely candidates to represent the Rays in the 2014 All-Star Game. 

The players were selected based on performance this year and popularity. The criteria for the list are the same as the criteria that usually factor into All-Star selections. 

Players like Derek Jeter do not have to be the best player at their position by statistics or perception. Due to his global popularity, he will receive a large quantity of fan votes each season. There is nothing wrong with that since it is the All-Star game, not the All-Stats game. Fans want to watch their favorite players. 

That does not mean that performance is unimportant. Players who are excelling at their position usually earn their way onto the roster.

This was the case for Fernando Rodney in 2012 on his way to his record-breaking .060 ERA season. He had a 0.93 ERA and 25 saves before the All-Star break and earned his first career All-Star selection that year.

Here is a look at the Rays’ best candidates for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game.

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Twitter Reacts to David Ortiz Calling David Price a "Little B—H"

David Ortiz says he has lost respect for David Price.

In the process, a lot of people have lost respect for Ortiz.

The Boston Red Sox‘s outspoken designated hitter routinely says what’s on his mind and rarely fails to bring out the emotions of his audience. He has inspired teammates, fans and even an entire city through his intensity. It is probably one of the reasons he has gained so many fans over his career.

His passionate postgame comments about Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price brought out some emotions and opinions of another nature. 

Price plunked Ortiz with a 94-miles-per-hour fastball in the first inning of Friday night’s game. If you read between the lines of Price’s postgame comments, it would appear the pitch was in retaliation for Ortiz’s slow trot after a home run in last season’s American League Division Series.

Benches cleared in the fourth inning after Price hit Mike Carp with a pitch.

During the game, Red Sox starting pitcher Brandon Workman, third base coach Brian Butterfield, manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo were ejected.

After the game, Ortiz went off on a rant to reporters, including Rob Bradford from

I have a lot of respect of the guy, man, but it’s over. I have no more respect for him. Last year we kick his ass in the playoffs, he went off, talking s–t about everybody, Tom Verducci and everybody. Players. We kind of got to talk on the phone. We kind of straightened things out. He was kind of upset. Me as a veteran I kind of let him know how things go in this game. Later on he called me and apologized because he knows he was wrong. He apologized in public. He apologized to myself. Everything was cool. So first at-bat of the season against him he threw at me. I mean, it’s a war. It’s on. Next time he hits me he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more.

Less than a week removed from Memorial Day, a moment of honoring fallen soldiers, is a little too soon to take a baseball beef and compare it to an armed conflict. As can be expected, fans did not react kindly to the comments.

It’s a game, not a war. Win or lose everyone lives to see tomorrow.

The poor timing of that comment would be overshadowed by the addition of a very misogynistic tone to his rant.

I was surprised for a minute until I watched the video. I thought everything was cool. You can’t be acting like a little girl out there. You aren’t going to win every time. When you give it up, that’s an experience for the next time. But when you’re to be acting like a little b—h every time you give it up, bounce back like that and put your teammates in jeopardy, that’s going to cost you.

When you infer that there is something wrong or inferior with being a female and include a hateful term toward women, people usually get upset. 

One good indicator of a poor statement is when a player upsets a fan of their team.

There were, of course, some fans of the Red Sox that were completely fine with what Ortiz said.

The rivalry between the Red Sox and Rays has become the most heated in the AL East. With two more games in this series and more games this season, it is safe to say the final words of this feud have not been said.

Hopefully, we have heard the final comparison to war and words rooted in disrespect to women. 

Stay classy.

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Rays Spring Training Report: Full Update of Surprises, Busts and Injuries

The Tampa Bay Rays are two weeks away from the start of the 2014 season.

They entered spring training looking for a fifth starter, final reliever and final bench player to fill their Opening Day roster.

Even though the roster was essentially set before Grapefruit League began, there is still a lot of incentive for players to put forward great effort in the exhibition games.

The primary reason is that you never know when a need will arise that will require a minor league player to move up to the majors. Jeremy Hellickson’s surgery is a perfect example of a position that was filled that turns into an immediate priority need to fill.

Players not on the 40-man roster or in the organization’s farm system utilize spring training to try to earn a job. It is a job interview for many players with only few openings available annually.

Spring training also marks the highest level of optimism for franchises and fan bases.

For the Rays, there are high expectations set for new acquisitions including catcher Ryan Hanigan and relievers Grant Balfour and Heath Bell. There are even higher expectations for returning players to improve from the previous season, such as pitchers Chris Archer and Matt Moore.

On the other hand, there are lesser known prospects that have low levels of expectation that put together great performances in the spring. Stephen Vogt was one of those players for the years a few years ago in spring training and earned himself a spot on the Opening Day roster after an injury to Luke Scott.

Based on the level of expectation comes the titles of surprise players and busts in spring training.

Here is an update of the surprises, busts and injuries so far this spring for the Rays.

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Tampa Bay Rays: Can Jayson Nix Make the Opening Day Roster?

The Tampa Bay Rays have most of their roster spots already locked in for 2014.

Unless a player like Sean Rodriguez has a completely terrible spring, there are only two spots available on the 25-man roster. Those openings are for the final bench player and final reliever.

Jeremy Hellickson’s surgery has opened a need for a fifth starter; though that position is a temporary fill until he returns in May.

Jayson Nix is working to solidify himself for the final bench position.

Working to his advantage is his ability to play multiple positions. The majority of his career (300 games out of 405) he has played either third base (179 games) or second base (121 games). In addition, he has appeared in 83 games at shortstop and 22 games as a corner outfielder.

Being able to play multiple positions fits perfectly into the Rays’ mold. Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist are other players on the roster who provide manager Joe Maddon with the flexibility to move them around to create the best lineup overall.

So far this spring training, Maddon has been impressed with the effort of Nix, as he explained to Joe Smith from the Tampa Bay Times.

This guy is an uber professional. That’s all he’s about. He just wants to play the game, play it right, be part of a group and understand what the overall philosophy is. I’ve known him for a week, I feel like I’ve known him for the last 10 years. Any manager, any organization would love to have him within the group. He is that guy.

Injuries are an important factor that can increase the odds that Nix makes the roster.

The loss of Tim Beckham for the year creates an additional need for a versatile infielder. Rays prospect Hak-Ju Lee is recovering from a knee injury sustained last year in Triple-A Durham.

Another asset he brings to the table is consistent defense. He has a career .967 fielding percentage over his six seasons in the majors. At second base, he excels with a .988 fielding percentage.

One area of concern is the lack of offensive production.

He has a career .218/.290/.358 line. Last season, he had 80 strikeouts in 87 games with the New York Yankees.

Nix will have to edge out other infielders including Logan Forsythe and Vince Belnome, who are also competing in spring training to make the Opening Day roster.


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.


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Tampa Bay Rays: 4 Potential Breakout Candidates to Watch in Spring Training

Every spring training, there are players that break out from the pack and perform above any expectation.

Shelley Duncan fit that role for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. He signed a minor league deal with the team that included an invitation to spring training in January 2013. He then led the team with five home runs tied for third on the team with 10 RBI during spring training last year. At the conclusion of the spring, he earned a spot on the Opening Day roster made available due to a Luke Scott injury.

He was designated for assignment in April 2013 once Scott was ready to return.

In 2012, Stephen Vogt found himself on the Opening Day roster after an injury to B.J. Upton. During spring training, he compiled a .323/.382/.484 line in 31 at-bats, the best of any catcher. He started the season with no hits and no walks in 17 at-bats over 10 games. He was sent back to Triple-A before being called up in September to finish the season with two walks and no hits in 25 at-bats over 18 games.

Who will be the breakout player this season?

Here are four players that could play their way onto the Rays’ Opening Day roster this spring training.


All statistics obtained from Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.


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Complete Tampa Bay Rays 2014 Spring Training Preview

The Tampa Bay Rays are preparing to begin their spring training for the 2014 season. The team is coming off another successful season, making the postseason for the fourth time in six seasons.

Unlike many recent years, the Rays do not have to begin spring training discussing the loss of any marquee players needing to be filled with an unproven prospect.

That fact coupled with the amount of talent added to the roster has this year’s team being mentioned as perhaps the greatest Rays team ever. That is quite an expectation to set, considering the team has won at least 90 games in five of their last six seasons and made the World Series in 2008.

Rays manager Joe Maddon shared his excitement on this year’s team with Roger Mooney from the Tampa Tribune.

You can argue 2010, that was a pretty good team. And 2008 turned out to be pretty good also. All I know is I like the names a lot, but I just can’t sit here and tell you unequivocally that this is the best team we’ve ever had. We’ve had some good teams go to spring training in the past, also. … I like the names. I say that every year. I think Andrew did a great job of balancing everything out is the best way to describe it.

No matter how the team looks on paper, it will mean nothing if the Rays do not bring it all together on the field.

That process starts when pitchers and catchers report on Friday.


All statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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Projecting Tampa Bay Rays’ 5-Man Rotation for 2014

The Tampa Bay Rays‘ starting rotation has enough talent to take the team to the postseason again in 2014. That is, if you consider credentials including a Cy Young winner, Gold Glove winner, Rookie of the Year and two All-Stars to be postseason-caliber talent.

Not to mention, the combined success of the organization to make the postseason in four of the last six seasons.

Barring a surprise acquisition, the pitchers who will comprise the Rays’ starting rotation in 2014 are already on the team roster. The players who will make up the rotation should not be a surprise, as they have each been in the organization for a while.

In the event of injury, they have three young prospects in Jake Odorizzi, Enry Romero and Alex Colome who are ready to come up and make a spot start. The three pitchers are also available for promotion in the event that the speculated David Price trade ever comes to fruition.

Here is a look at the projected rotation for the Rays in 2014.


All statistics and salary numbers courtesy of unless otherwise noted.


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Power Ranking Tampa Bay Rays’ Offseason Signings, Trades So Far

The Tampa Bay Rays face a daunting task each offseason.

Stay competitive on a tight budget.

Competing in the American League East is a difficult task by itself. When you add in the Rays budget compared to the spending ability of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, and the task becomes exponentially more difficult.

Somehow, the Rays and executive VP Andrew Friedman find a way to add enough pieces to field a highly competitive roster. Their five 90-win seasons since 2008, including the last four in a row, is the best in baseball.

The Rays have been business as usual this offseason. They have made some strategic moves to put them in position to make another postseason run in 2014. They have kept their core intact from 2013 while adding depth at catcher and in the bullpen.

Which of these moves will make the most impact?

Here is a power ranking of the Rays offseason moves. The list does not include players signed to a minor league contract.


All statistics and salary numbers courtesy of unless otherwise noted. 

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Grading the Tampa Bay Rays’ Moves So Far This Offseason

The Tampa Bay Rays have been relatively quiet, as usual, this offseason.

Some teams make big splashes in the offseason, signing expensive high-profile players, while others make ripples. The big splashes garner a lot of attention, are seen and heard from further distances and are projected to make a significant impact immediately.

Small ripples make less noise and attract a smaller national audience. Instead of a single large splash, multiple ripples need to be put together with the intent of building a sustained winner.

For small-market teams on a tight budget, like the Rays, ripples are the way business is conducted.

Grades for the offseason moves are based on the value received for the costs of the transaction. Average players who add depth who are signed to an average contract would be a good move compared to subpar performers signed to a long-term deal.

Here are the grades for the Rays’ offseason moves so far.


All statistics and salary numbers courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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4 Questions Facing the Tampa Bay Rays in the Postseason

The Tampa Bay Rays have a tough road ahead.

After 162 games, the Rays finished the season tied with the Texas Rangers for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. A tiebreaker Game 163 was required to answer the question of whether the Rays would even make the postseason in 2013.

Monday night the Rays answered the question by defeating the Rangers 5-2.

The road will only get tougher for the team that has not been home since September 23.

If the Rays make it past the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card Game they will travel to Boston to face the Red Sox on Friday. Game 1 of the ALDS would be the team’s fourth road game in four cities in a span of six days.

Here are the four biggest questions facing the Rays, other than did the players pack enough laundry for the road trip that keeps going.


All statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted.



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