Monday, June 10, 2024

Of Littell Faith


I feel like I'm dumping on the Rays a lot this year. Out of everybody I think I've done the most 'what are we even doing here' posts about the Rays. But if you look at this team, like 7 of the top 8 players on this team give off the vibe of 'reject from x farm system'. Isaac Paredes is the best player on this team, and this is a guy that wasn't good enough for the 2021 Tigers. Garrett Cleavinger was on the 2020 Dodgers and couldn't get it to work. Jason Adam was traded for Josh Willingham, and it still took him like 7 more years to properly impact a team. And this Rays team is the one they work in, all while the actual stars are, like nowhere to be found.

I think the way you sum the 2024 Rays up is that this is the kind of team that can make Zack Littell a star. Zack Littell was a decent relief guy with the Twins and Giants, and bopped around recently til becoming a swingman/opener with the Rays last year. Because the Rays are still without McClanahan, Rasmussen and Springs, and because there are so few sure bets in this rotation [even with Pepiot getting hurt], Littell got a starting role. He's done very well, with a 3.63 ERA and a team-leading 69 Ks in 13 starts. Even with Zach Eflin and Aaron Civale on this team, Littell might be the closest thing this rotation has to a rock. And while that is a good thing in the context of this season, in the context of the last 6 years of Rays history it's dire. We've gone from Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, Charlie Morton and Ryan Yarbrough to...well, here's Zack Littell, he's all we've got.

That is a good way to sum up this Rays team, honestly. It's all we've got. All those years of fielding great players in trades and refusing to pay them have led to Jose Siri, Richie Palacios, Ben Rortvedt and Amed Rosario inheriting this team. The fans are already pissed because the team DFA'd Harold Ramirez, who's become a fan favorite due to how fun he is on the field, and how much he loves his kid, in favor of Jonny DeLuca, who cannot hit. And the core that this team has relied upon, of people like Randy Arozarena, Brandon Lowe, Yandy Diaz, Josh Lowe and Taylor Walls, is....terrible. Arozarena's hitting .179. That whole 'smug crossed arms' thing only works if you're playing well. And honestly, the Rays might deal him. Either it's happening now or it's happening the moment he asks for a raise this offseason, might as well cut out the middleman. Diaz is at least batting .250 but compared to last year it's such a disappointment.

As I write this, the Rays are losing to the Orioles 4-2, despite 9 strikeouts from Ryan Pepiot and a 2-run home run from former Mariners catching prospect Alex Jackson. And guys...this shit isn't even interesting anymore. 'Oh, wow, a former prospect getting shelled and a guy you haven't thought of in 6 years being the only person to hit anything!'. Get a new owner, secure the St. Pete stadium, and stop this foolishness.

Coming Tomorrow- From the farm system that brought you Stephen Strasburg, Erick Fedde, Chad Cordero and Lucas Giolito comes....this guy, I guess.

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