MLB Rumors: 10 Moves the Tampa Bay Rays Can Make To Get To the 2011 ALCS
The 2010 ALDS was probably one that I will say I hadn't seen before for one reason alone. The home team didn't win a single game the entire series.
Texas took the first two games in Tampa and the Rays repaid them by taking two in Texas to bring the series back to their home stadium for game five. They still couldn't get it done as Texas took game five to move on to the ALCS.
It's widely known that the Rays' front office is planning on cutting payroll from this past year which means they will probably not re-sign a few of the free agents that are on their list.
Here are 10 things the Rays can do to get to the 2011 ALCS despite their lower payroll.
No. 10: Fix The Offense
When you finish the season 26th in team batting average, you know that might be the first thing you'd want to fix during the off season.
No. 9: Upgrade Bullpen (Scott Downs?)
If they're not going to be able to re-sign Rafael Soriano to be their closer, they not only need to find a solid replacement to be the guy in the back end of the bullpen.
One name, who's a free agent at the end of this season is Blue Jays' reliever Scott Downs.
No. 8: Strengthen Rotation (Jake Westbrook?)
After David Price and Matt Garza, the Rays need to find three other pitchers in the rotation that can compliment these two young pitchers.
Jake Westbrook is a guy I would look at that won't cost the team that much. Gives them a veteran arm after Price and Garza.
No. 7: Without Fans, The Payroll Is Always Going To Be an Issue
I'm not sure if saying the Tampa Bay area doesn't care is exactly the way I want to go with this but when you average less than 30,000 fans a year after your team goes to the World Series, that is enough to tell me they don't really care all that much.
If that trend continues, the complaints that the ownership isn't putting money back into the team isn't going to be legit when they aren't getting the fans to bring in the money.
No. 6: Better Defensively
When you have 25 combined errors between your shortstop and third baseman, it might be time to think about fixing that.
No. 5: Scower The Free Agent List
The free agent list has a lot of solid names on it. The Rays wouldn't have to spend a whole lot to bring in a few of those free agents to plug the holes created by the players that will be leaving.
No. 4: Replace Carl Crawford With Andruw Jones?
If you can't re-sign Carl Crawford, you're going to need to fill that hole somehow.
Why not Andruw Jones who's a free agent after this season is over? A one or two year deal may not cost the team that much.
No. 3: Talk To The Padres About Adrian Gonzalez
Carlos Pena is a free agent and while he gave you a big season home run wise, it might behoove the Rays' front office to find a first baseman who is a good hitter as well as a Gold Glove defensive first baseman.
The San Diego Padres may not be able to keep Adrian Gonzalez and are probably going to be looking to get the best deal in a trade, probably during the off season.
If I'm the Rays, I would definitely kick the tires and find out what the Padres are going to want in return.
No. 2: Vladimir Guerrero
I don't see the Texas Rangers picking up Vladimir Guerrero's option, especially since Vlad really hasn't shown up in the playoffs like they had hoped he would.
That being said, he might be a guy the Rays would want to take a look at when free agency begins.
No. 1: Re-Sign Rafael Soriano
The Rays can replace departing free agent Carl Crawford but having a lock down guy in the back end of your bullpen can be the biggest link to success.
That being said, the Rays need to do everything they can do to make sure they get a deal done with free agent closer Rafael Soriano.