TORONTO — So, Blake Snell was musing one day, what would it be like if the Rays didn’t have to so often deal away good players due to financial considerations? If they ignored the analytical and statistical data that informs them of their options? Tossed aside the baseball intellect and acumen which frames the emotion-less decision-making they thrive on?
Started throwing around millions as if they woke up one day and were suddenly big spenders, beneficiaries of getting major sponsorships from local companies that currently do little or nothing with them such as Publix, Bloomin’ Brands (Outback), Wellcare, Ashley Homestore, Caspers Company (McDonald’s), Mosaic?
“If we didn’t trade people, we’d be unbelievable,” Snell said. “If you think about it, if we didn’t have a low salary, if we were like a $200 million team, we’d still be having to trade people because we’d be that good. We’d be too good.”
Don’t get this twisted; Snell wasn’t venting unhappiness or making demands or targeting a specific player. Heck, he just got paid, signing near the end of spring training for $50 million over five years.
If anything, this was just Snell being Snell, sharing something that popped into his head after a chat about some recent deals and the Rays being the Rays, having a good team despite a majors-low payroll of about $52 million (plus roughly another $10 million in trade payoffs and signing bonuses).
Taking Snell’s thoughts a step further, what if there were no trades and no free agency, and the players you drafted and signed internationally were what you had to go with. What kind of team would the Rays have today?
Well, the pitching would be really, really good. And the lineup would have some major holes, reflecting the poor drafting and decline in the farm system that has since been addressed. Also, $200 million would be enough to cover it, for now anyway.
A rotation could look like this, with 2019 team and salary:
LH Blake Snell (Rays, $1 million)
LH David Price (Red Sox, $31 million)
RH German Marquez (Rockies, $1 million)
RH Alex Cobb (Orioles, $14 million)
RH Jeremy Hellickson (Nats, $1.3 million)
Also considered: LH Matt Moore (Tigers, $2.5 million), RH Jake Faria (Rays minors)
A bullpen like this:
RH Wade Davis (Rockies, $18 million)
RH Alex Colome (White Sox, $7.325 million)
LH Jake McGee (Rockies, $8.5 million)
LH Jose Alvarado (Rays, $570,600)
LH Felipe (Rivero) Vazquez (Pirates, $4.5 million)
RH Diego Castillo (Rays, $561,500)
RH Yonny Chirinos (Rays, $561,800)
Also considered: LH Kyle Bird (Rangers, $555,000), LH Zac Rosscup (Mariners, $610,000), RH Ryne Stanek (Rays, $564,200)
A position player group like this:
OF Kevin Kiermaier (Rays, $8 million)
OF Joey Rickard (Orioles, $570,000)
OF Mikie Mahtook (Tigers, $574,500)
OF Johnny Field (Cubs AAA)
OF Andrew Toles (Dodgers restricted list)
INF Evan Longoria (Giants, $14.5 million)
INF Tim Beckham (Mariners, $1.75 million)
INF Derek Dietrich (Reds, $2 million)
INF Brandon Lowe (Rays, $1 million)
INF Tyler Goeddel (Nats AA)
C Stephen Vogt (Giants AAA)
C Luke Maile (Blue Jays, $579,000)
Also considered: C Nick Ciuffo (Rays minors), OF Braxton Lee, (Mets minors), INF 1B Nate Lowe (Rays minors)
Muster of managers?
There are now six former Rays players who went on to become managers, five current:
Rocco Baldelli, Twins 2019-??
Mickey Callaway, Mets 2018-??
Kevin Cash, Rays 2015-??
Ozzie Guillen, White Sox 2014-11; Marlins 2012
Gabe Kapler, Phillies 2018-??
Dave Martinez, Nats 2018-??
And four former Rays staff members, some on an interim basis:
Tim Bogar, Rangers 2014
Dan Jennings, Marlins 2015
John McLaren, Mariners 2007-08; Nats 2011
Charlie Montoyo, Blue Jays 2019-??
Coaching ’em up
Former Rays players (minors only with *) and staff (with #) who are current big-league coaches:
Angels: Jesus Feliciano* (first base), Josh Paul (bench), Jose Molina (catching), Paul Sorrento (hitting)
Braves: Sal Fasano* (catching)
Blue Jays: Matt Buschmann* (bullpen), Shelley Duncan (field coordinator)
D’backs: Mike Butcher# (pitching), Eric Hinske (assistant hitting)
Dodgers: Chris Gimenez (game planning), George Lombard (first base)
Mariners: Jared Sandberg (field coordinator)
Mets: Dave Eiland (pitching), Chuck Hernandez# (bullpen)
Nationals: Tim Bogar (first base), Joe Dillon (assistant hitting)
Padres: Damion Easley (assistant hitting)
Phillies: Sam Fuld (major-league information)
Rays: Paul Hoover (field coordinator), Chad Mottola* (hitting), Kyle Snyder# (pitching), Ozzie Timmons (first base)
Rockies: Steve Foster# (pitching)
Twins: Bill Evers# (catching), Derek Shelton# (bench)
Yankees: Larry Rothschild# (pitching)
* Any interview about the Rays early season success seems to include players talking about how much they enjoy being together and the fun they’re having, which is a complement to the clubhouse culture and manager Kevin Cash.
* It was a rough week for Pirates pitcher Chris Archer. The two players the Rays got for him, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, starred while Archer was suspended for throwing at a hitter and accused by Reds TV broadcaster Chris Welsh of having pine tar on his jersey and dabbing it. Archer said the touching was him trying to keep his pants up and the pine tar may have gotten there when he was hitting pre-game in the batting cage.
The Rays have a $10,333,800 pool for the June draft, 10th highest, and three high picks: 22nd, 36th and 40th (acquired in trade from the A’s). … They also have a $5,939,800 pool for international signings, about mid-pack. … Tommy Pham seemed to make clear what he thought of Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies’ under-market seven-year, $35 million extension, responding to the Instagram announcement by posting three poop emojis. … A big crowd is expected Saturday with the Ryne Stanek bottle opener giveaway, Devil Rays throwbacks and the Red Sox in town. … ESPN has the Rays fifth overall, and the top AL team, in its weekly power rankings. ... Ji-Man Choi said he was just trying to lend a hand when he noticed Chicago’s Tim Anderson tearing up at first base during Wednesday’s freezing cold game and let him wipe his face and nose on his sleeve. … Credit to Drew Smyly, finally back from injuries and pitching with Texas, seeking his first win since 2016 with the Rays. … Some kinks with the cashless system at the Trop should be worked out this week.
Contact Marc Topkin at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.