What went wrong for the Rays in 2022, and what players might Tampa trade this offseason?

The Tampa Bay Rays was the first crew eradicated from the 2022 postseason Saturday afternoon. Oscar Gonzalez and the Cleveland Guardians walked Tampa off in Game 2 of the new best-of-three Wild Card Series, and the Rays controlled only one run in the two video games. It was once a solo homer by way of No. 9 hitter Jose Siri on Friday. Yep, that is a recipe for a snappy postseason go out.

More than anything else, the Rays had been performed in by way of an underpowered offense in 2022. The pitching was once now not slightly as dominant as earlier years (9th in park-adjusted ERA and thirteenth in WAR), however it wasn’t horrible. The offense ranked twenty first in runs in keeping with recreation and twenty fifth in domestic runs. Last yr they had been 2d in runs in keeping with recreation and received 100 video games. This yr they had been twenty first and received 86 video games.

The offense stumbled maximum down the stretch. Tampa scored no a couple of run in 9 in their ultimate 17 common season video games, and most effective 4 instances in the ones 17 video games did they ranking greater than 3 runs. And the ones had been necessary video games in a postseason race and that may have given the Rays home-field merit in the Wild Card Series. They were not enjoying out the string, and but they had been nonetheless not able to muster a lot offense regardless of a heightened sense of urgency.

Injuries restricted Brandon Lowe, Tampa’s peak energy danger, to 65 video games and Wander Franco to 83 video games. Ji-Man Choi and Francisco Mejia disenchanted, and most effective 3 — 3! — players had double digit domestic runs: Randy Arozarena and Isaac Paredes every hit 20 and Choi had 11. Their peak 4 domestic run hitters (Yandy Díaz had 9) mixed to hit two fewer domestic runs than Aaron Judge.

One explanation why to imagine the Rays would repeat at AL East champions this yr was once a farm gadget that was once stacked even past Franco. Coming into 2022, Baseball America ranked Tampa’s gadget 2d in baseball in the back of the Mariners. The gadget didn’t supply a lot affect this previous season, on the other hand. Look at the very popular bats:

* Baseball America ranked Walls as Tampa’s No. 15 prospect remaining yr. He simply narrowly exceeded the MLB rookie limits in 2021 and technically was once now not a prospect in 2022, despite the fact that he for sure wasn’t a longtime huge leaguer.

Brujan and Lowe had been top-100 possibilities getting into 2022, and whilst Aranda was once the No. 20 prospect in the gadget in spring coaching, he had a breakout yr and climbed to No. 5 in August. Walls was once very good defensively, however there’s a minimal appropriate same old on offense, and he did not meet it. Simply put, the Rays did not get sufficient assist from inside, particularly offensively.

To be transparent, this does now not imply Aranda, Brujan, et al are busts. Even the maximum gifted players can want a couple of hundred at-bats to search out their method in this league and they are all nonetheless so younger. There’s a number of time to determine it out. This simply approach the Rays leaned on their gadget to plug some holes this previous season and it did not paintings. In 2022, the youngsters had been web detrimental.

Where does that go away the Rays heading into the offseason? Here are the 3 greatest questions going through the group following their Wild Card Series go out.

Who’s getting traded away?


Look, this is the truth of the Rays. They gain younger players, get 3-4 years out of them, then trade them after they start to get pricey all the way through arbitration (or after they succeed in the big-dollar years in their extension). Last offseason it was once Austin Meadows and Joey Wendle. The offseason sooner than that it was once Blake Snell. It’s what the Rays do.

Tampa had a franchise report $83.9 million payroll in 2022, despite the fact that it wasn’t that some distance forward in their payrolls in 2010, 2015, and 2018. It was once a couple of additional million and that is it. So, except the Rays elevate payroll significantly, extra cuts might be made. Another few million may not be sufficient to hide arbitration raises and raises owed to guys on multi-year contracts (Franco, Manuel Margot, and many others.).

The most evident trade candidate: Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow returned from Tommy John surgical treatment in September and pitched neatly, and the Rays gave him a two-year, $30.35 million extension in August. The construction of the contract — $5.35 million in 2023 and $25 million in 2024 — means that Tampa will stay Glasnow subsequent yr and trade him all the way through the 2023-24 offseason.

That stated, the Rays can not manage to pay for Glasnow getting harm once more. Tampa has a deficient observe report of maintaining pitchers wholesome (extra on that in a bit of) and Glasnow struggling some other vital arm harm most probably approach they are caught with him in 2024, and they might must devote greater than 1 / 4 in their payroll to an injured participant. Keeping Glasnow approach assuming numerous possibility.

Glasnow appeared excellent in his restricted motion overdue this yr and his observe report is excellent. Teams need not anything greater than an enormous (6-foot-8) righty with huge speed, huge spin, and two out-pitch breaking balls. Glasnow has the equipment to be an ace and he is pitched at an ace stage from time to time all the way through his occupation. Tampa would don’t have any bother discovering attainable suitors.

Also, big-market groups will like that Glasnow’s two-year extension with rely most effective $15.175 million in opposition to their luxury-tax payroll in 2023 and 2024, somewhat than an enormous $25 million rate in 2024 in the event that they wait till subsequent offseason to get him (luxury-tax payroll is calculated the usage of moderate annual price of the closing cash on the deal). That makes Glasnow extra fascinating now.

The Angels, Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Padres, and Yankees all in an instant bounce to thoughts as attainable Glasnow suitors. The up-and-coming Orioles too. Really, each crew may use a glass like Glasnow, despite the fact that the two-year time period on his contract issues to a direct contender as the splendid have compatibility. Either method, Glasnow is a main candidate to be traded this iciness.

Díaz is the different core Rays participant who stands proud as a candidate to be moved in a trade that saves cash and restocks the farm gadget. He is 2 years clear of loose company and he made $2.8 million in 2022. That figures to push his wage into the $5 million vary in 2023. Also, Díaz simply had what appeared like a occupation yr at age 30. This is when the Rays promote.

Point is, the Rays once more determine to trade away a core participant or two this offseason, as a result of that is what they do each offseason. It is the baseball circle of lifestyles in Tampa. Glasnow and Díaz are two evident applicants to transport given their salaries and closing years of keep an eye on, however they are infrequently the most effective trade applicants. Who remains and who is going will form the membership’s offseason.

Can they determine methods to stay pitchers wholesome?


For a company constructed round a pipeline of peak flight pitching, the Rays certain are horrible at maintaining pitchers wholesome. Shane Baz, baseball’s No. 1 pitching prospect getting into 2022, was once restricted to 27 big-league innings by way of elbow bother this yr, and he had Tommy John surgical treatment remaining month. He’ll leave out 2023. Andrew Kittredge and Brendan McKay had Tommy John surgical treatment previous in this summer season as neatly. JP Feyereisen hasn’t pitched since June. Nick Anderson hasn’t gave the impression in an MLB recreation since remaining September. Glasnow and Yonny Chirinos returned from their Tommy John surgical procedures remaining month. On and on it is going.

Tampa’s pitching harm bother — we are speaking main arm accidents that require invasive surgical treatment — has long gone on lengthy sufficient that it is truthful to mention it is an organizational deficiency. They do not understand how to stay pitchers wholesome. The Guardians, the crew that simply despatched the Rays domestic, appear to have figured it out. Their pitchers misplaced most effective 498 man-days to harm the remaining two years, some distance and away the fewest in baseball. Tampa’s pitchers misplaced 2,756 man-days to harm all the way through that point. That’s the maximum in baseball.

“At some point, we’ve got to figure out how to not have injuries,” president of baseball operations Erik Neander advised the Tampa Bay Times in September.

These days it is not simply the groups with the splendid players that win, it is the groups that stay their splendid players on the subject the maximum, and this is very true for a Rays crew that may not move out and signal that massive loose agent. Their margin of error is razor skinny and one thing like dropping Baz or Glasnow to Tommy John surgical treatment can derail their season. Pitchers inherently raise harm possibility. It’s a part of the process. But Tampa’s pitching harm bother runs deeper than standard possibility. They’re doing one thing wrong and will have to repair it.

Will there be any growth with the ballpark state of affairs?

The formidable and by no means all that most probably two-city Montreal/Tampa plan fell aside in January and the Rays are nonetheless having a look to protected a brand new ballpark. Their rent at Tropicana Field runs thru 2027, so whilst they nonetheless have a while to determine this out, they’ve hit numerous roadblocks the previous few years. They have roughly exhausted their wiggle room and will have to start making actual growth towards a brand new ballpark, whether or not they keep in the Tampa/St. Petersburg house or relocate somewhere else.

“Here’s what I want everyone to understand about today: We remain 100 percent committed to Tampa Bay. Tampa and St. Pete are both great cities. Better than they’ve ever been as far as I’m concerned,” Rays president Brian Auld advised the St. Pete Catalyst in August. “… It is inappropriate for me to get into some of the confidential details of those discussions (with local officials about keeping the team in the area), but that’s all. That’s what we need.”

The Athletics have proven that the longer the stadium state of affairs is going unresolved, the extra relocation turns into a chance. The A’s hope to get a brand new ballpark in the Bay Area, certain, however they’re brazenly flirting with Las Vegas too. It may not be lengthy sooner than we listen the Rays attached to Montreal on an enduring foundation, or Nashville, or Portland, or San Antonio, or any considered one of the different nice towns desperate to host a significant league franchise.

A brand new ballpark may not flip the Rays right into a big-market behemoth (simply glance throughout the state at the Marlins) however it does really feel essential for the franchise’s long-term viability. They’ve performed the splendid they may be able to to make the Trop extra fan-friendly and aesthetically interesting, however there may be most effective such a lot enlargement attainable there. The Rays have a number of questions to deal with on the subject. Off the subject, making growth towards a brand new stadium could also be the maximum necessary piece of offseason trade of all.


Leave a Comment