No matter how bad these first couple of weeks looked, the Rays — short of injuries — were not going to make massive changes.
Patience is as much a part of how they do things as statistical analysis and creative contracts. It's not their style to be rash, to overreact to small samples, to wave off the extensive time and research they put into formulating their plan.
"You put this together in the offseason, you think about it a lot in advance," manager Joe Maddon said. "To just run away from different people, and okay, then, who's supposed to take all these people's places? These guys are good, and they're going to show why they're good and why we wanted them here in the first place."
There is a fine line between being patient and stubborn. But the Rays aren't at that point — especially because they believe breaks have gone against them — after 21/2 weeks.
Consider 2010, when almost everyone knew Pat Burrell wasn't going to be any better at DH and their $9 million was sunk money. They still waited to cut him loose until mid May. Their 5-10 start? During the Rays' five-year run of success, they've had at least one stretch of 5-10 or worse in each season, eight total. Maddon likes the theory of the late manager Gene Mauch that the same kind of run in the beginning of a season is a bad start, in midseason a slump and at the end a choke.
Another part of the Rays' core philosophy is to have the self-discipline, as challenging as it may be, to stay focused on the future. That was why they traded top pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis in an offseason deal for touted outfield prospect Wil Myers. So until they believe Myers is ready to have an impact in the majors, they're not going to push him. Same with pitchers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi and others off to hot starts at Triple-A Durham. "Their time will come," Maddon said.
In other words, be patient.