Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays consider bold calls an imperative

In reviewing the Rays' stunning move last fall to bring up minor-league OF Kevin Kiermaier for Game 163 and the American League wild-card contest, manager Joe Maddon said last week that it really was a matter of trust. The same with the similarly surprising decision to start rookie LHP Matt Moore in the 2011 AL Division Series opener.

It was trust that Maddon had in the front office, and trust those execs had in the minor-league staff, that the players were ready and able, given the potential for second-guessing and criticism had either move backfired.

Executive vice president Andrew Friedman says it illustrates the cohesiveness of, and the relationships within, the baseball operations department, how "everyone is approaching it with the purest of intentions" and all are "singularly focused on having as much success as we can collectively."

The framework allows bold decisions, and Friedman said the foundation for that comes from principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

"Stu challenges us to be bold," Friedman said. "He creates the environment and atmosphere to not play it safe. Human nature would dictate that there is always less downside when you take fewer risks. But with that, there's less upside. So one of Stu's biggest talking points is trying to challenge us to be as bold as we can be with thoughtful conviction behind it."

RADIO HEADS: Congrats to Rays broadcasters Andy Freed and Dave Wills for starting their 10th season in the radio booth together Saturday, a milestone even more notable given only three teams have been together longer: the Tigers' Dan Dickerson and Jim Price, 12th season; the Orioles' Joe Angel and Fred Manfra, 11th, and the Giants' Dave Flemming and Jon Miller, 11th.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: The Rays are pegged for an AL East-high 88.5 wins by the Bovada online gambling site. … Seattle scouts have been around watching young Rays pitchers, but the market for INF Nick Franklin may be stronger elsewhere. … From the way the starters are set up for the spring, the rotation order after ace David Price is Alex Cobb, Moore, Chris Archer and No. 5 to be named. … SS Hak-Ju Lee's return to game action Friday from a gruesome April 2013 knee injury was a just reward for the extensive work by minor-league medical staffers Joe Benge, Joel Smith and Trung Cao. … A Maddon brainstorm under consideration: Having the Dan Hartman song Instant Replay on the stadium PA system when umps are doing a review. … ESPN's Buster Olney figures the Rays have the AL's third-toughest early season schedule. … Peter Gammons predicted on MSNBC the Rays will beat the Dodgers in the World Series. … Retired former Rays OF Fernando Perez was in camp last week talking to team personnel about the 2008 AL Championship Series for a potential writing project. … Coaches Tom Foley and Dave Martinez, plus ex-Ray Cliff Floyd, are mentioned in the new Jonah Keri book on the Expos, Up, Up and Away. … The billboard of Maddon flexing his bicep to push ticket flex packs is the first of a campaign that also will feature players.

Rays consider bold calls an imperative 03/01/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 1, 2014 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  2. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Lightning confused by NHL's slashing crackdown

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — D Victor Hedman said the joke in the Lightning locker room before Friday's exhibition game was that the over/under on slashing penalties would be six.

    "It was the over again," Hedman quipped.

    Wing Ryan Callahan, left,  pursues the Predators’ Colton Sissons, being careful how he uses his stick given the crackdown on slashing in the preseason. “It’s hard to defend when you’re so used to doing something for so long and now it’s a penalty,” Callahan says.
  5. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.