Rays Blogger Tweeter under the Podcast

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Bullpen, Free Agent, Rays

I have  known of the name Jason Collette for many years now dating back to the Rays message boards, then later on DRAYS BAY. But, it wasn’t until the MLB blogpoll that we both contributed to, that I first linked up with him.  Jason is all over the webosphere these days.  As a fan of several podcasts these days, I just listened to the Baseball Digest podcast where Jason was a guest.

Here are my notes on the interview:

Jason said the Rays organization went all in for 2010. An example he cited the team finding the money for Soriano, when there was no money left.  Jason noted that we knew the defections coming in 2011, but this offseason has been as good as possible with the 12 draft picks, freeing up 11.25 million in the Bartlett and Garza trades.

On the Manny and Damon package – Damon alone not worth it, the DH in Tampa Bay for a long time has been a sore spot. Manny in itself will be an upgrade over anything they have ever had at DH. Damon can work count. Jason stated that this is best offensive line up in history of Rays.

On losing Balfour and Soriano at closer and if it was a surprise:  Jason said not really. Benoit, Soriano, and Balfour had career years But, Benoit’s 3yrs/16mill contract with the Tigers skewed the market. There was a 50% chance Balfour could be back.

4 of the top 50 prospects from Tampa Bay. Now how does the Manny/Damon deal effect  Joyce/Jennnings –  help or hurt their progress ? He said punch his ticket to AAA, deleay his service time, have him for prime years, stretch out rentention.  Joyce has trouble handling left handed batting, but high ISO power vs rh pitching.

On Tampa ownership: Its like Fight Club, barely get access, tight lipped, very secretitive, data driven team.

Stadium: Will enough revenue streams so a CC wont happen again? timing wise after being in a world series it was a good time to attempt a new stadium,  but Tampa economy with a 13% unemployment, tv ratings top 6, many can’t afford to go, stadium under new ownership looks alot better. Jason would go before, but it was filthy, cleaner now, An unfortunate  geoography problem with stadium, east vs west.  St Pete doesnt want to give up rights.

On Baldelli retiring: It was a lost career just about.  He was athletic, power, could run. On having Rocco in the organization: Rays like to harvest those type of high character people, makeup is important. Hayhurst and Damon big character signings, with Damon a big clubhouse guy.

Can Rays compete?  Jason sees 5 teams going over .500 mark.  3 winning 90 games again, Rays and Blue Jays will be in mix.

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