2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Preview

Posted on Minggu, 14 Februari 2010 |
2005 Overview:

There were very few bright spots for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2005 including the final disappointing weekend when Tampa Bay fans were treated to 4 straight home losses compliments of the visiting Baltimore Orioles. 2005 also saw the final departure of Manager Lou Pinella who was granted a final buyout on his contract. The Devil Rays finished the season with a dismal 67-96 record, 28 games behind the division-leading Yankees and Red Sox.

Despite inconsistent offensive production during 2005, sophomore infielder Jorge Cantu (.286 28 117) and rookie outfielder Jonny Gomes (.282 21 54) provided Devil Ray fans with something to be optimistic about.  While leftfielder Carl Crawford (.301 15 81) and rightfielder Aubrey Huff (.261 22 92) added some impressive offensive numbers as well.

Devil Ray fans had to look long and hard to find any quality starting pitching for much of the year. Only rookie pitcher Scott Kazmir (10-9 3.77) acquired from the NY Mets for Victor Zambrano at the end of 2004, displayed any consistency in the rotation.  The rest of the starting pitching including; Mark Hendrickson (11-8 5.90), Casey Fossum (8-12 4.92), and Seth McClung (7-11 6.59) did very little to help solidify the floundering staff. Incredibly, closer Danys Baez (5-4 2.86) was somehow able to save 41 games in 49 opportunities for a baseball team that managed a total of 67 wins all season. It’s no surprise Pinella wanted out.

Off Season Moves:

A recent poll on the Devil Rays MLB website asked fans; “Which of these off season acquisitions will make the biggest difference for the Rays in 2006?” the selections to choose from were Sean Burroughs, Chad Harville and Ty Wigginton. In a nutshell that should tell you everything you need to know about the Devil Rays off season moves. In 2005 Burroughs managed to hit .282 in 93 games while driving in a total of 17 runs. It’s probably fair to say that Wigginton (.258 7 25) is happy to just be playing on any major league roster. The Pirates became so disappointed with his offensive production they sent him to the minors during the 2005 season. And the pickup of Chad Harville didn’t fair much better. Harville’s career record is 4-7 with an inflated 5.01 ERA.

On January 14th the news didn’t improve much for Devil Rays fans when closer Danys Baez was traded to the LA Dodgers for pitcher Edwin Jackson (2-2 6.28) and it was announced that Kansas City free agent pitcher Shawn Camp (1-4 6.43) was signed to a one year contract.

2006 Analysis:

No doubt newly appointed Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon has his work cut out for him in 2006. On the upside the Devil Rays managed to compile a .274 batting average while scoring 750 runs in 2005 – so offensively they should fair pretty well when stacking up against American League competition in 2006. The main problem with the Devil Rays is lack of pitching. The same starting five will return from last year with bullpen help from Travis Harper (4-6 6.75), Jesus Colome (2-3 4.57), Chad Orvella (3-3 3.60), Tim Corcoran (5.96 ERA in 10 games) and Dan Miceli (1-2 5.89) all looking to help keep games close. The Devil Rays have also signed a bunch of non-roster pitchers as invitees to their spring training camp while also extending minor league deals to several free agent pitchers – hoping to find a few surprises to add to their roster in 2006. Devil Ray fans will need to be patient as it will take some time for the team to rebuild.

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