The Devil Rays did some housecleaning lately, designating Alex Sanchez and Josh Phelps for assignment. This comes just days after Lou Piniella's rant asking for more veteran players. In a way, I'm very glad they did not give in to his demands, instead promoting Jonny Gomes to the majors. I celebrate that anti-saber type player Alex Sanchez was released, but weep for Josh Phelps, who should be so much better than he is. Let's take a look at some numbers:
Sanchez actually did not do too bad offensively this year for Tampa with his .295 EqA. Here are the EqA's for the rest of his career:
2003: .243 (MIL)
2003: .248 (DET)
Of course, there is no reason to be sad he was basically released. Check out his defensive stats:
Rate: 82 CF
Tampa was going to use him as a DH too. I don't advocate it, since he isn't that useful with a bat, but luckily his request for more playing time got him an everyday gig in the minors. To see more about how I feel about Alex Sanchez, check this link.
As for Josh Phelps...
This move I don't understand as much. Granted, he's only at a .267 EqA, .007 points above league average, but he's done better in the past, and as the D-Rays your supposed to take more chances on guys like this. The Russ Branyan's and Josh Phelps' of the world should be all over your roster along with your young kids and the up and coming stars, instead of signing these Alex Sanchez types. I guess I can't complain about blowing it all up and starting over though. Phelps season by season VORP totals:
I can't complain about the new kid in town; I'm actually very excited to see him in the majors now:
Small sample size for the majors, but check out this AAA line at Durham:
Yeah...it was promotion time. Time for a position change for one of Tampa's talented outfielders in the near future though, as it is starting to get crowded down there:
Delmon Young, Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
The scouting report on Delmon Young that scares me the most is that he is like Manny Ramirez as a hitter; he just looks professional and hits for the same reason Manny just hits. A pure hitter like Manny in Delmon Young (if the predictions are true), a 2005 version of Jonny Gomes (hopefully Tampa is not just catching lightning in a bottle), Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli should give them an extremely talented nucleus and lineup core. Let's take a look at the rest of those players numbers I mentioned but have not shown:
If Crawford could either learn to walk more or hit for higher average consistently, I would have absolutely no complaints. He is turning into more of a power hitter with stolen base capabilities and a knack for hitting triples. I think some people forget he is still only 23 years old, so he has time to develop even more.
Rocco Baldelli 2005 PECOTA
Baldelli is destined for bigger things than this I think, but not yet. He, like Crawford, is only 23 years old, so the time for them as bigtime players is not here yet. Which brings me to my next player...
I'm not really sure what is going on with Aubrey Huff. By the time Tampa is able to compete he will be past his peak and prime, so maybe dealing him while his price tag is still high and attractive thanks to previous performances is the right thing to do.
Tampa still needs to develop or sign some quality pitching to come into town. That or trade for four more Scott Kazmir's. Either way, with that hitting core at its peak and real pitching down there, Tampa could be a real threat in the AL. Maybe then Lou Piniella can be happy.