Go For Broke, Friedman

I’d like to take this space to make an appeal to Andrew Friedman – please, go for it. You have a really good team (the best run differential in the American League, even) filled with young talent, and you got Tampa excited about baseball with a World Series run last year. Your team currently stands 4 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East and 3 1/2 games out of the top spot in the wild card standings. You’re a contender. You just need to upgrade your starting rotation.

Thankfully, there’s this guy named Cliff Lee who the Indians would be willing to part with for the right offer. He’s really good, and he’s not just a rental player – he’d help you in 2009 and 2010. You have a remarkably deep farm system, overflowing with talented guys you don’t have room for. You have guys like Reid Brignac, Matt Joyce, Wade Davis, and now Jeremy Hellickson in Triple-A. You have Willy Aybar on the bench. Your outfield is overcrowded, but someone is going to have to go to make room for Desmond Jennings eventually. You have talent to spare.

Your team is interesting and fun to watch, and better than those two things, they aren’t the Yankees or Red Sox.

Last year’s postseason was a breath of fresh air, because we didn’t have the same old series we’ve been having over and over again all decade. With the Angels pulling away in the AL West, and the two titans of payroll currently in line for playoff spots, we’re dangerously close to getting the same AL playoff series’ we’ve seen 100 times already. As a baseball fan, I’m simply asking that you give me the chance for a more interesting October.

Call up Mark Shapiro and blow him away with an offer. Stick Lee in front of Shields, Garza, Price/Kazmir, and Niemann and run down the big boys. You have talent coming out of your ears, and a real shot at winning the World Series this year. I know you love Wade Davis, but you can live without him – you have 18 other pitchers who could take his place in future seasons.

For the good of baseball, give us another post-season free of either Boston or New York.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Kent
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Kent
7 years 1 day ago

!!! yes please

Justin
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Justin
7 years 1 day ago

TOTALLY AGREE!!!

Brant K
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Brant K
7 years 1 day ago

F Yeah! living in NY, there’s nothing sweeter than hearing the Yankee fans and talk radio cry. Go Tampa

Tom B
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Tom B
7 years 1 day ago

you must be confusing yankee fans with mets fans.

Booya
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Booya
7 years 1 day ago

The Red sox will soon be on the outside looking in, whether the rays make a deal or not.

Joel
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Joel
7 years 1 day ago

I’m sensing some bitterness here

BX
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BX
7 years 1 day ago

This is slightly OT, but if there’s one team that should go for broke, IMO, its Seattle.

Although I agree on Tampa Bay.

Raf
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Raf
7 years 1 day ago

They tried it with Bedard. They’re not going to get burned again.

BX
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BX
7 years 1 day ago

Zdurecnik (sp?) isn’t Bavasi and he has a realistic grip of trade value IMO (but then, its such a small sample size of his body of work).

The Bedard deal is an outlier and the AL West isn’t getting easier. I buy if I’m Z.

Steven
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Steven
7 years 1 day ago

Z can buy, but he needs to be smart about it. The M’s don’t have a deep farm system at the moment, so they’re not in the same boat as Tampa Bay. TB can sell prospects and still remain strong in the future. The M’s are still rebuilding their farm, so it makes no sense to sell prospects for them for a short run that will put them back in the cellar in the long run.

JH
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JH
7 years 1 day ago

Seattle actually has pretty much the deepest system it’s had in years. What it lacks is impact talent at the top. At the top, they have Ackley, who they can’t trade, and Saunders, who they won’t trade. Beyond that there’s very few guys who make other teams’ scouts super excited.

But, there are a lot of guys who make scouts kind of excited.

Depth isn’t the problem in the Seattle system. Star potential is.

seattlecougar
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seattlecougar
7 years 1 day ago

Seattle has several intriguing pieces. In addition to JH’s list – Lots of power bullpen arms – Lowe, Kelley, Aardsma at MLB; Aumont and Fields in the minors. One of them could be flipped to a win now team looking for bullpen help for a piece you need as part of a package for a bat. Morrow might be moveable to a team that’s going to give him a more clearly defined role and path to the bigs. Clement is idling down in AAA and the team seems to have minimal interest in bringing him up. There’s Adam Moore and Carlos Triunfel, who are probably on the same “won’t trade” list as Saunders.

Nobody who can come up from the system is going to help you tomorrow beyond fringe AAAA, but there are several guys who are 1-2 years out with seasoning. Saunders and Clement may even be contributing at a MLB level by the end of the season. Exactly the kind of players a rebuilding team likes to look at.

No way Jack Z gets fleeced like Bavasi. He actually seems to know how to evaluate what he’s getting back.

Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
7 years 1 day ago

Hear, hear!

I’d bet they could buy Lee and Halladay without touching their elite core beyond possibly or likely Price for Halladay.

twinsfan
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twinsfan
7 years 1 day ago

Yes, yes, and yes.

Joshua
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Joshua
7 years 1 day ago

I would love to see Brignac, Joyce, Aybar and Sonnastine go to the Indians for Lee. I don’t know if that would be quite enough…. But if that’s close then the Rays need to make sure the deal gets done.

Ryan
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Ryan
7 years 1 day ago

Wait.. what?

No way you do those 4 players for Lee. That is crazy.

Joshua
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Joshua
7 years 1 day ago

Sonny doesn’t have a spot in the rotation, especially if we land Lee. Aybar gets almost no playing time because Pena and Longo are so reliable, plus Dillon could play 3rd if anything happens. Joyce has been a disappointment so far, though I feel like he has a huge ceiling. We have plenty of players that can play OF right now, especially when Perez comes back from surgery, hopefully in August. So that leaves Brignac who would be a serious loss, but one we can take because Beckham should (fingers crossed) be two years out anyway.

joser
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joser
7 years 1 day ago

It’s still a serious overpay. Not a Bavasi-esque Badard epic overpay, but still more than necessary.

seattlecougar
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seattlecougar
7 years 1 day ago

Just because you have 4, $100 bills in your pocket doesn’t mean you have to spend them all to buy something worth ~$250.

fetch
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7 years 1 day ago

Amen. I really hope the Yankees miss out on the playoffs again.

Ryan
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Ryan
7 years 1 day ago

That is an absolute TON to give up.

Saying Joyce is a dissipointment this early is very short-sighted. Brignac is the future at SS/2B depending on Bartlett (who’ll be do for a big raise after this year). Giving up that much cost controlled talent is asking for trouble as a small-market team. It would be selling very, very low on Sonny, too.

Ryan
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Ryan
7 years 1 day ago

Sonny still has options, so there isn’t any rush to trade him. I like having that depth in case of injury.

Rob in CT
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Rob in CT
7 years 1 day ago

1. I do hope the Rays “go for it.”
2. I hope the result is that the Yanks and Rays go to the playoffs and the Sox go home. Sue me, I’m a Yankees fan.

Rome
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Rome
7 years 1 day ago

I would Rather have the Rather see the Ron Washington and the Texas Rangers then the Yankees and Red Sox. Of course, I want the Rays to win the East again.

Jayson
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Jayson
7 years 1 day ago

It’s hard to believe how quickly the Red Sox went from “perennial underdogs” to “Yankees v 2.0.”

At least the Sox earned the distinction of perennial contenders by building one of the best front offices in sports. There’s something particularly grating about the Yankees spending like drunken sailors every year.

Steve
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Steve
7 years 1 day ago

Just because the Yankees employ a different business model than other teams does not mean they don’t have a very good front office.

This meme is a little outdated at this point.

Their farm system is really starting to bubble with talent, and while they spent lavishly this offseason, they spent wisely. Sub-30 superstars don’t hit the FA market very often, so they splurged. They had a new stadium opening an a fortune rolling off their books. They also had protected 1st and 2nd round draft pitcks. It was a perfect storm and it won’t happen again this winter. I’d expect them to continue to drop payroll this winter as Nady, Pettitte, Damon, Matsui, etc. come off the books.

They’ve been filling holes in their bullpen and on their bench with players from their farm system who aren’t stars, but have been solid contributors. This trend will continue, as well as higher ceiling guys starting to reach the majors.

It’s easy to dismiss the Yankees as rich and stupid, but they aren’t. Cashman “gets it”. I’d be scared if I were the rest of the league.

Sky
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7 years 1 day ago

Cashman might “get it” now, but he really hasn’t for the past ten years. Now, much of that might be due to Steinbrenner meddling, but when you have a $200M payroll, you should be winning more than 95 games.

El Guapo
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El Guapo
7 years 1 day ago

Agreed. And forgive me for the gratuitous homerism you’re about to be subjected to, but as a paying Red Sox fan, I feel our uber-intelligent front office deserves all the credit in the world for promising and delivering a player development machine using only the resources of a passionate fan base and a century-old park. That sure seems different than stealing $1 billion from NY taxpayers then turning around and building a mallpark that takes a dump on any fan that doesn’t own a Bentley. At least Fenway gives ALL its male fanbase urinal dividers.

The Red Sox are only guilty of becoming what every other team is trying to be; smart, rich, classy and successful. And unfortunately for Yankee fans, it all starts with ownership.

Tom B
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Tom B
7 years 1 day ago

i don’t see what’s wrong with what the yankees are doing.

1) the farm went from being a joke to one of the best in the country in a matter of 3 years.
2) the new stein (hal) is taking a very hands off approach, which is good for everyone involved.
3) they still only spend 60% of their revenue on payroll, which is more than we can say for a lot of teams. if every team in baseball spent that %, there would be no more overpriced superstars left for the yankees to buy.
4) the new stadium is amazing, and anyone that bashes it is either jealous or has never been there.
5) they didn’t steal $1B from the taxpayers, it’s time to let it go. the stadium plans were finalized long before the economy got flushed down the toilet.
6) Go sit field level in the legends seats in those nice cushy leather seats, and get your “All-you-can-eat” food and drinks delivered to you all game, and then tell me it’s not worth it. Don’t believe the hype.

fenway is a “JOKE” of a ballpark from every perspective that doesn’t involve nostalgia.

Tom B
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Tom B
7 years 1 day ago

oh i forgot your last line…

The Red Sox are only guilty of becoming what every other team is trying to be; The Yankees.

Rome
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Rome
7 years 1 day ago

Tom, I agree that Fenway is a joke of a ballpark. 315 to the “monster” is an out at every other ball park. Doubles to Pedroia are fly outs, again, in most ballparks. The other end of Fenway has Penske’s pole which is damn near in the middle of the outfield. Most balls that go foul near the end are homers because of Penske’s pole. Finally on the joke of a ballfield called Fenway you have the low fence in the outfield were line drive doubles become home runs. The ballpark is a put-put course on steroids.

Now about your new ball park Tom. You mean to tell me that it’s okay pop-outs to become home runs? The Yankees get to play 81 games in a field where Johnny Daemon hits a ball off the end of the bat, he looks down like he just made an out, and it becomes a home run? Ridiculous!

Ryan
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Ryan
7 years 1 day ago

lol

They have a WHOLE NATION of supporters!

Tom B
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Tom B
7 years 23 hours ago

the fence is only 9 feet closer in right field at the apex of where the curved fence was. less than 10% of the home runs according to hittrackeronline have fallen in this area.

Lots of other ballparks have a fence this same distance or closer. why is it only inappropriate for the yankees to have a park like this, when a team like the reds or the phillies can have essentially the same “popup” homeruns?

Rome
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Rome
7 years 1 day ago

Cliff Lee would be nice. I would trade Sonny, Mitch Talbot, Kyon Kang for Lee. Sonny is a reliable arm who generally throws strikes. Talbot would be in almost any major league rotation if he were in any other system other then Tampa Bay’s and Kang is strong prospect who is showing a lot of promise and development.

Sonny had one option left before the Rays used it to send him down to the Minors this year.

Andrew
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Andrew
7 years 1 day ago

Why settle for Cliff Lee? Go for Doc Halladay. If the Phillies won’t part with Kyle Drabek nor the Dodgers with Kershaw/Billingsley, then no one can compete with a Rays offer. The elite guys don’t even have to be included in the deal.

Doe JP Ricciardi say no to Wade Davis, Desmond Jennings, and Reid Brignac?

Rome
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Rome
7 years 1 day ago

Wow, that a VERY HIGH price to pay for Doc, Andrew. I am more apt to trade for Lee because the Rays would not have to face the beast that Wade Davis will become 18 times and have to deal w/ Jennings running wild on the base paths 18 times or have to see Brignac steal a hit from up the middle 18 times. Can you imagine the line-up that would give the Blue Jays? Jennings in CF, Wells in LF, Rios in RF, Briggy in Short w/ Wade Fing Davis on the Mound. It makes me sick right now.

Joshua
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Joshua
7 years 1 day ago

Those are some of the top tier players left in the minors for the Rays. I would be loathe to trade Jennings at all and Davis and Brignac in the same trade. It will take a lot though to get the services of a Cy Young winner for a year and a half. As Rome suggested Talbot would probably be enticing as well for the Indians.

Robin
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Robin
7 years 1 day ago

Unfortunately the Rays are *also* in the AL East and Riccardi has already said that AL East teams would have to pay a premium on top of the “blow me away offer” expected of everyone else.

Robin
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Robin
7 years 1 day ago

…though, looking through the packages the Rays could put together makes me think that you are right that they could make it happen after all. Man the Rays are stacked.

Andrew
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Andrew
7 years 1 day ago

This may be nitpicking, but the Red Sox started the season with only the fourth highest payroll in MLB. They obviously have the advantage of a large market team (along with the Phillies, Dodgers, Tigers, Angels, Cubs, Mets, and Yankees), but attributing their recent success to payroll alone is a cop out. If money did it, the Mets wouldn’t be such abysmal failures year after year…

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/salaries

Tom B
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Tom B
7 years 1 day ago

* 2009: $121,745,999
* 2008: $133,390,035
* 2007: $143,026,214
* 2006: $120,099,824
* 2005: $123,505,125
* 2004: $127,298,500
* 2003: $ 99,946,500
* 2002: $108,366,060
* 2001: $110,035,883
* 2000: $ 81,200,000

joser
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joser
7 years 1 day ago

Highest payroll team ever to win the World Series? 2007 Red Sox: $143M
Second highest? 2004 Red Sox: $127M
No one else has ever spent over $100M to win a world series (though not for lack of trying, of course). The 2008 Phillies came close at $98M, putting them 3rd on the list; the 2000 Yankees spent $92M.

Puffy
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Puffy
7 years 1 day ago

But “two titans of payroll”? At this point there is 1 big titan, 3 or 4 little titans, and 5 or 6 teams around $100 million (including Dave’s Mariners). Outside of the two NY teams, no payroll really sticks out.

There never was 2 titans of payroll. There always was 1 titan and the rest of major league baseball.

B
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B
7 years 1 day ago

Puffy, you’re right about this year and last year’s payrolls. The Red Sox don’t stick out as a huge titan, as you referred to it.

“There never was 2 titans of payroll. There always was 1 titan and the rest of major league baseball.”

This is just untrue, though. From 2004-2007 the Red Sox were spending a lot more than any other non-Yankees team. In 2007, for instance, the Yankees were at ~190M, the Red Sox at ~$143M, and the third team, the Mets, were at ~115M. Only 7 teams were over $100M while the Red Sox were spending ~143M…I think it’s safe to say they were a “titan”.

TomT
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TomT
7 years 1 day ago

The Mets have actually averaged over 90 wins the past 3 seasons. They could have made the playoffs each of the past 3 years with slightly better luck so I would no call them abysmal failures year after year. They have been able to win this many games BECAUSE their payroll has masked some poor decisions by their front office.

diderot
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diderot
7 years 1 day ago

Dave,
Commendable self-restraint not trying to use this as a forum for shedding Bedard or Washburn.

joser
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joser
7 years 1 day ago

With the talent the Rays have to offer, they can do better. And they’re smart enough to know that. And Dave’s smart enough to know all that too.

Bill
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Bill
7 years 23 hours ago

Erik Bedard is really good.

granmasterB
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granmasterB
7 years 1 day ago

Rays would likely have to part with Beckham and perhaps Jennings to get Lee amongst other players.

joser
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joser
7 years 1 day ago

They don’t have to part with Beckham when Brignac is closer to the majors and essentially expendable if you assume he’s trapped between Beckham and the guys already in Tampa. Cleveland might prefer Beckham but I’m sure they’d take Brignac plus one or more other names.

rays fan in southern california
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rays fan in southern california
7 years 1 day ago

I would love to see the rays get lee for prospects, but please keep in mind fiscal restraint is the rays first priority. Tampa has to be able to control a young players contract as long as possible for freidman to make a profit. I watch this team every day on the mlb package, and cannot understand why the fans do not come out to support this team. The rays are the most exciting team in baseball, and there manager is also top notch. maddon will have his guys running when they are nine runs down, and he is great. carl crawford, longo, upton, the best hitting double play combo in the majors. I am hoping they can overcome a bad april and may and get to the playoffs.

Rome
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Rome
7 years 1 day ago

From a guy who lives in the area let me tell you my take why more fans don’t show up. If you asked a hundred people in the area you will get just about a hundred different answers. You will hear about the time of travel. You will hear about the location of the stadium. You will hear people complaining about the dome. Personally I think it’s a few different reasons. Reason number one, no one has a die hard affiliation w/ the Tampa Bay Rays. No matter how long a person has lived in the area they will still claim are from someplace else. So, we have Red Sox fans who don’t know how far Fenway is from the backbay area, and we have have Yankee fans who couldn’t tell me if the Bronx was north or south of Manhattan. You will find that baseball in the ba area is a nice secondary subject where people like to talk about the Rays when the Yankees aren’t winning or Red Sox, or even the Bucs aren’t playing you will hear talk about the Rays. Personally, I think the Tampa Bay area is about 15 year aways from being a REALLY good baseball town. Why because the younger generations are starting grow an affiliation w/ the Rays and it doesn’t hurt that the Rays have been winning over the last year and half. So give it time and more support will come, but the question is will the current ownership wait that long?

Ryan
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Ryan
7 years 1 day ago

They won’t have much choice, IMO.

Puffy
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Puffy
7 years 1 day ago

“With the Angels pulling away in the AL West, and the two titans of payroll currently in line for playoff spots, we’re dangerously close to getting the same AL playoff series we’ve seen 100 times already.”

Who are the two titans of payroll Dave, pray tell? I see one big titan, the Yankees ($201 million), and 2 little titans, the Mets ($150 million) and the Cubs ($134 million).

After those titans, I see 7 more teams over (or nearly over) $100 million, ranging from the Mariners ($98 million) to the Angels ($113 million), Tigers ($115 million), and Red Sox ($121 million)

So, who are the two titans of payroll again?

rwperu34
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rwperu34
7 years 1 day ago

I’m going to start a blog called “Fire Dave Cameron”. You just suggested the Rays go for Cliff Lee instead of Roy Halladay.

Slurve
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Slurve
7 years 1 day ago

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand?

rwperu34
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rwperu34
7 years 1 day ago

Is it me?

Justin
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Justin
7 years 1 day ago

Doc costs way more to have and to get…

DavidCEisen
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DavidCEisen
7 years 14 hours ago

While I disagree with Dave Cameron more often that a lot of people, why would you think it would be a good idea to trade three good prospects to a team in your division? You’d be setting up the Jays to be highly competitive in a year or two.

Meanwhile you can trade for Cliff Lee, who is cheaper, and will give you probably about 8 or 9 WAR the next year and a half compared to Doc who will give you 10 or 11 WAR. The difference between the two when you consider price and long term ramifications of the trade leads to Lee being the better trade target.

Mr. S
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Mr. S
7 years 1 day ago

While the Rays surely have a nice farm, the way some of these comments paint it, it just seems to be a bit hyperbolic to me.

Will
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Will
7 years 1 day ago

The Red Sox have become the new Yankees (late 1990s era) not because of their front office, but because of the insidious bandwagon following known as Red Sox Nation. Yes, the Red Sox have an admirable and devoted regional fanbase but Red Sox “nation” has now become quite literal, as Red Sox chants drown out home crowds in ballparks everywhere. A significant portion of Red Sox fans have little to no connections to the New England area. ESPN and other forms of national sports media devote a disproportional amount of coverage to the Red Sox, and many Red Sox players are vastly overhyped. When other teams play the Red Sox, it is like these teams don’t even matter.

Go Rays! .

And to any fans trying to defend the Yankees… just stop. Your new stadium represents everything that is wrong about modern Yankees’ baseball.

Tom B
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Tom B
7 years 22 hours ago

everything that is wrong with modern baseball?
you missed it, the waaaaaaaaaaambulance left hours ago.

Joe Schmoe
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Joe Schmoe
7 years 16 hours ago

And to any fans trying to defend the Yankees… just stop. Your new stadium represents everything that is wrong about modern Yankees’ baseball.
——————————————————

I do believe the term for this is “butthurt”.

Jimmy
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Jimmy
6 years 11 months ago

Less QQ, More pewpew.

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