Rays Right-field Wish List

 

 

Starting today, Free Agents all over Major League Baseball will begin to show their wares and try to entice teams to take a chance on them in 2009…………or beyond. I decided to do a blog today about my wish list for a right-fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. Now take into consideration that most of these players will not be traded by their teams to us, or might not even be on the block at the Trade Deadline in August, but I just want to think outside the box here for a bit.


Some of the guys on my list are former players that we have tried to pry from their ex-teams like Jason Bay ( Red Sox ), Xaivier Nady ( Yankees ), and Jermaine Dye ( White Sox). All of these players were being considered by the Rays in the last 2 years as possible options to our right-field problem. Jermaine Dye was also being courted by the Rays before he signed with the Chicago While Sox on his multi-year deal. Bay and Nady were under heavy consideration during last season’s Trade Deadline and they slipped out of the Ray’s hands and into the pocket of American League East rival teams.

There are several ex-Rays also being considered more for their past glory than for what they might still have in their tanks. Players such as Jose Guillen (Royals) is considered off limits right now, but might be available again in August. Ex-Rays farmhands like Emil Brown (A’s) and Ryan Freel ( Reds) could become available for the right collection of trade options. The Atlanta Braves even have 2 ex-Rays that might be in consideration since both have shown that they do have power and are healthy now. Matt Diaz and Greg Norton did not leave the Rays on their own terms, but that was also before the present front office was in control and it might not have been for money reasons at the time.

Randy Winn ( Giants) has always intrigued me as a guy who would come back and play here, with the right conditions. He loved hitting here and could be a great asset in the right-field corner with his arm. He can also still play a mean center-field in case of an injury. I have even thought of a fantasy trade where B J’s brother Justin comes here and plays right-field to make a really broadcasters’ nightmare outfield tandem of Upton and Upton, side by side.

But there is a huge amount of great athletes out there who could come here and be a contributing part of this squad. I even though about a few ex-Rays troublemakers who made the Rays’ lives a living hell when they played against them. Players like Reed Johnson (Cubs), Gabe Kapler ( Brewers), Brandon Boggs ( Rangers), and Ben Francisco ( Indians). These guys would be like Jose Cruz Junior and be taken out of the loop to terrorize our pitchers’ and become a threat for out opposition.

Then I thought about some wily veterans who might be going for their last contract, or major move. People like Ken Griffey Jr ( White Sox), or maybe even Garrett Anderson ( Angels). Both have talent still in the tank and could be a great leadership role model as well as great player for the team. Then I thought about players who hurt the Rays in 2008 that might be a great fit on this team, like Ryan Ludwick ( Cards), Matt Murton, who when he was with the Cubs almost cost us a sweep at the home (A’s). And how can you forget Hunter Pence who had a cannon in right-field and a rocket-launcher on his shoulder to help the Astros take 2 from the Rays at home in Inter-league play.

But then you got some of the up-and coming guys like Chris Young ( Diamondbacks), Reggie Willits ( Angels), and Reggie Abercrombie ( Astros), who are starting to make a name for themselves and still have potential to burn in their tanks. Power bats like Cory Hart ( Brewers) and Matt Kemp ( Dodgers) who can change a game on 1 swing of their bats. Most of these players ares till under team control for a period of time and will take a good selection of players to even be considered, but this is my dream sequence……………so let’s press on.

 

 

The you have to old veterans like Bobby Abreu, the first Rays; field player  taken in the Expansion Draft. Daily I try and think of what this guy could have done in right-field for the Rays in the early years. Would he be here today, probably not, but it is a fantasy that would have been a pure joy to have one night.

Then I think about the little scrappers that a running throughout the outfields now. Sprinters like Lastings Milledge ( Nationals), Cory Ross ( Marlins ),Nyje Morgan ( Pirates) who are never out of range of balls hit into the gaps. Even guys like Delwyn Young ( Dodgers) and Lou Montanez ( Orioles) come to mind when I think of deceptive speed and power at the plate.

But there are still other big names that I have not even mentioned yet because of the cost of obtaining them for years to come. Guys like Pat Burrell ( Phillies), who would be a monster in right at the Trop., but is looking for his last contract and it will have big numbers on it.

 

Or guys still under contract with their teams like Jason Michaels ( Pirates), who are great hitters and fielders, but might not have a price on them right now that is obtainable for the Rays. Or even players who have a mystery about them because they play so well at times, then disappear for a while.

Guys like Jay Payton ( Orioles ), who have such promise and never seem to get over that hump when it counts. Or even Juan Rivera ( Angels) a guy who plays his heart out, but is not a top caliber player anymore. But you reward his heart and determination knowing that you will get 110 percent daily. Now I am going to list my personal 3 outfielders I would really consider trading for hard and heavy in 2008 for the 2009 right-field vacancy:

  1. Jayon Werth ( Phillies). It will never play out, but this guy is as clutch as they come right now in baseball. In the 2nd half of the season he has been on fire and in the playoffs he just re-loaded and kept firing bullets to the outfield seats.

  2. Marcus Thames ( Tigers). I do not know what it is about this guy, but I think he has a cannon for an arm and is truly one of the better breaking ball hitters in the American League. Considering he can also go on home run tears, that is not a bad problem to have with your right-fielder.

  3. Ryan Spilborghs ( Rockies). Here is another guy who I think is about to hit the potential meter in a big way. He is adjusting great and will be a All-Star caliber player in the next year or so for whoever he plays for…………..he is a true gamer.

 

So here are just some of the guys and their teams that are on my fantasy list for right-field for the Rays. You never know with this team. They could just rely on rookie Fernando Perez and Gabe Gross to supplement the outfield until later in Spring Training and someone might pop off a roster and play right into the Rays hands. But nothing is in stone in baseball. Remember a few years ago when we signed Danny Bautista to play right-field and he retired before even playing 1 regular season game for the team.


You also forget that starting today, Rocco Baldelli will get his first look at what is out there and what extent people want him to play on their teams. He is still not out of the Rays’ plans, and you could still see him back again with a incentive-laden contract and a possible platoon position in right-field. The next 10 or so weeks should be fun for everyone. I know I am going to be dreaming of a repeat in 2009 all Winter long.

4 Comments

I agree all the way with Spilborghs being an upcoming and coming All-Star. Next year is his year.

There are a fair amount of options for the Rays in right field, but the ones that make the most sense for me are Brian Giles and Randy Winn. Somebody needs to scoot Akinori down in the order.

Aaron
http://districtboy.mlblogs.com/

Randy was a great Rays outfielder. He was also one of those guys that truly loved to chat with the fans before the game. Brian Giles, I like the way he works the outfield, but I think the Padres will be wanting some major players, amybe 2 for his services………..but he is a great bat for any team that gets him.

Yeah, Spilborghs and maybe even Brian Anderson with the White Sox might make a few heads turn in 2009. Centerfield will be Anderson now that Griffey will be leaving the White Sox. I tried to only think of right-handers’ for that list. If we were thinking lefties, Raul Ibanez would be tops on my wish list.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I would love to see Ibanez in a Rays uniform…Somehow he is flying under the free agent radar after 20 hr and 100 rbi seasons in the last 5 years, or very close to it barring injury on an absolutely horrible team. I would think he would love to hit with Crawford, Upton, Longoria, Pena on base. Plus he is a much needed veteran run producer with the Rays saying goodbye to Floyd, Hinske (maybe) and he has a home in South Florida. I also like Ryan Spilborghs…What about landing them both? We do have a DH spot to fill as well. Go Rays!

I am a big Ibanez fan , but he is outsdie the range if a right-handed bat. He is a great clubhouse guy and would be a fantastic addition to any team. Unfortunately, He is going to get snapped up by either Atlanta or Toronto in my opinion.

Cliff Floyd might even be back after his shoulder surgery as a Spring Training Invitee ( Bird told me this), But Hinske will have options with a few other teams. Spilborghs has some huge uypside and migmt be a good addition to the Rays.

It is early and the dominoes have not atarted to fall yet, so we have a long way to go before everything is said and done.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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