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Rays Tales: Greener pastures?

Not all the 16 players who left the Rays after last season did so of their own accord, and of those who did, their moves weren't necessarily just for the money. Here's a look, a month into the season, at how things are working out elsewhere (all stats through Friday):

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LF Carl Crawford, Red Sox

Stats: .160, 6 RBIs, .202 OBP

What's up: Crawford has improved since a horrid start that saw the Sox drop him to eighth in the order, the fifth spot they've tried. … His .436 OPS and .202 OBP are lowest in the majors of the 194 qualifying hitters. … Crawford has been booed at home; some fans in Anaheim threw money at him. … Manager Terry Francona said he'll stay in the No. 8 spot until he gets consistently hot.

What they're saying: From the Boston Globe: "Things have been so bad that Crawford has tried to bunt his way on. He's swinging and missing and getting fooled on off-speed pitches. … Scouts can't believe their eyes. … 'No confidence at all,' said another. … 'He looks now like he did when he was a young player just starting out in this league.' "

What he's making: $14 million, part of seven-year, $142 million deal

Primary Rays replacement: Sam Fuld ($418,300)

RHP Rafael Soriano, Yankees

Stats: 1-1, 1/2 saves, 7.84 ERA

What's up: Soriano has struggled in the setup job he signed up for, admitting: "It's not been easy for me. I've tried to figure out how to do the same that I did last year." … The N.Y. fans and media (especially when he ducked out after a bad game) have let him hear it. … He has already allowed nine earned runs and 12 hits in 11 games; last season, 12 and 36 in 64 games. … Manager Joe Girardi has acknowledged the "rough start" but so far resisted dropping him from the eighth-inning role. … There's a lot of talk about how Soriano has to get adjusted to New York after pitching in Podunk, er, Tampa Bay.

What they're saying: From the New York Post: "The former closer can't handle this situation. His head isn't right for it right now. … Someone needs to tell Soriano, enough with the excuses and the complaining about the umpire missing pitches. … He doesn't fit right now."

What he's making: $10 million, part of three-year, $35 million deal

Primary Rays replacement: Kyle Farnsworth ($2.6 million)

RHP Joaquin Benoit, Tigers

Stats: 0-1, 0/1 saves, 6.10 ERA

What's up: Benoit's strikeout ratio is down (almost half of last year), and his walks and hits are up. … He gave up a walkoff homer Friday.

What he's making: $5.5 million, part of three-year, $16.5 million deal

Primary Rays replacement: Joel Peralta ($925,000)

1B Carlos Peña

Stats: .159, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs

What's up: Peña has one extra-base hit (thus a major-league worst .175 slugging percentage) and 23 Ks in 77 plate appearances. … There has been talk of dropping him into a platoon role.

What he's making: $10 million

Primary Rays replacements: Dan Johnson/Casey Kotchman ($1.75 million total)

Traded

• SS Jason Bartlett, to Padres: .232-0-3

• RHP Matt Garza, to Cubs: 0-3, 4.11

• OF Fernando Perez, to Cubs: .179-0-2 at Triple-A Iowa

• LHP Zach Rosscup, to Cubs: 1-0, 2.79 at Class A Daytona

Also signed elsewhere

• 1B/OF Brad Hawpe, Padres: .143-0-2

• RHP Chad Qualls, Padres: 0-2, 0/1 saves, 3.38

• RHP Lance Cormier, Dodgers: 0-0, 10.13

• C Dioner Navarro, Dodgers: .000 (just off DL)

Not playing: Willy Aybar, Rocco Baldelli, Gabe Kapler

Rays Rumblings

Manny Ramirez (remember him?) told ESPNdeportes.com he is planning to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. … RHPs Juan Cruz and Joel Peralta are discussing a project to build housing for low-income residents of their native Bonao, Dominican Republic. … Gene Kirby, a longtime baseball broadcaster and exec who was a close friend of senior adviser Don Zimmer, died last week in St. Petersburg at age 95. … Hitting coach Derek Shelton and home clubhouse/equipment manager Chris Westmoreland passed the time between games Thursday by going to the Target Center to play racquetball.

Got a (half-)minute? Casey Kotchman

Must-see TV show? I don't have one.

Singer or band you'd want to be on stage with? I don't have one of them, either.

Last movie you saw? Can't remember.

Ideal vacation spot? I'm thinking Bora Bora.

Dream date? I don't even know.

RHP Grant Balfour, A's

Stats: 1-1, 1/2 saves, 2.70

What's up: Solid work so far in a setup role.

What he's making: $3.75 million, part of two-year, $8.1 million deal.

Primary replacement: Juan Cruz ($850,000)

RHP Dan Wheeler, Red Sox

Stats: 0-0, 9.82 ERA

What's up: Wheeler thus far has been used in a mop-up role.

What he's making: $3 million

Primary replacement: Adam Russell ($420,800)

LHP Randy Choate, Marlins

Stats: 0-0, 1.50 ERA

What's up: Has been solid as lefty specialist, allowing a .222 average.

What he's making: $1 million as part of two-year, $2.5 million deal

Primary replacement: Cesar Ramos ($416,700)

Rays Tales: Greener pastures? 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 7:41pm]
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