Disappointed Rays see busy off-season, bright future ahead
Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman and manager Kevin Cash wrapped up what both called a disappointing 80-82 season today with a media session at the Trop.
"Anytime we're sitting here before you guys and not talking about a postseason series, it's a disappointment,'' Silverman said. "We came into spring training believing we had a team that would compete for the playoffs and possibly extend our season deep into the playoffs, and that didn't happen. There are a number of reasons for that.''
Among the more interesting points:
* While acknowledging injuries are a factor for all teams, Silverman said it was a bigger issue for the Rays due to the number of injuries and that they "don't really have the luxury for bad breaks.''
* Silverman said he sees "a really good foundation" between the major- and minor-league teams, and Cash said the experience gained by the young players, and the staff, will benefit them going forward."
* Silverman said he expects it to be a busy offseason at least in terms of talking, and they have a number of positions to address. Shortstop looks to be the biggest hole, and he made clear they would be open to dealing a starting pitcher.
* Though principal owner Stuart Sternberg indicated last month the payroll may go down from $72-million, Silverman said they are just now having those conversations as they look at it over a several year window. He did note that the top 10 teams average $100- million more than the Rays.
* One reason for their losing record was a run differential of only plus-2. Both Cash and Silverman put the onus on the offense to improve and feel that it can especially as they stick with the more aggressive approach.
* Silverman said the oft-discussed pitching philosophy was hatched out of necessity and will be further studied as they shape their rotations and bullpens going forward.
* Silverman said they were probably lucky to be 40-30 at one point, and that he felt the actually played better later in the season and didn't have the same results.
* All the coaches are expected back; all are signed thru 2016 except 1B coach Rocco Baldelli.
* The Rays will open spring training Feb. 19 in Port Charlotte, first spring game is March 2 at home vs. #Nationals.
* Asked his prediction for who wins the post-season, Cash chose the Blue Jays.