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Thread: The Devil Rays

  1. #21
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    upd8: we won the next game too! We're over .500!
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  2. #22
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    We finish up May at 25-29, 12.5 back of the Yankees in the East and 9 back in 6th place for the wildcard. Sheff broke out with an even 1.000 OPS this month while hitting six homers, bringing his season line to .247/.386/.433. Getting a lot of interest on the trade market for him but not much by way of prospects. He'll be 30 next year so I really should thinking about flipping him if I can get younger. I have an interesting offer from the Dodgers for the just-26 Darren Dreifort and 23-year-old Roger Cedeno. Dreifort is underdeveloped but young enough that he might fill out, and he has starter stuff and stamina. His movement and control are both at 45 but with lots of room to grow. Cedeno might actually be the bigger get in the deal, at 23 years old with 65 contact, 60 eye, good speed and defense. They both have two years experience so they're not quite as young as I'd like and they'll get more expensive quickly, but it's something to ponder. I'll probably wait until closer to the deadline to see if Dreifort progresses at all.

    Aurilia had a rough May with a .618 OPS and is down to .809 on the season. JT Snow keeps getting better, posting a 4-digit OPS this month and is at .974 and tied for the team lead with 8 homers.
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  3. #23
    IN UR COMPUTER POSTIN Hollis's Avatar
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    I'd absolutely take that deal ten times out of ten.
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  4. #24
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    The trade deadline has come and gone and we made several deals to reshape our roster. We have been over .500 in every month but April, sitting at 55-53 entering August. I tried to walk the line between selling and staying competitive, though we're 17.5 back in the East and 9 back of the wildcard but in third place there. My trades tended to complement each other so that we didn't leave a position newly exposed, though we've definitely downgraded our rotation a bit while upgrading our bullpen.

    First we pulled the trigger on Sheffield to the Dodgers, sending them Bob Wickman and Miguel Batista along with him to get Dreifort, Roger Cedeno, and Antonio Osuna. Sheff had been OPSing .798 while playing an average second base, but with him closing in on 30, I figured it was time to sell high. Wickman had a 3.19 ERA but only 6.6 K/9 and is also closer to 30 than 29. Batista's movement and control have ticked up by 5 each since I drafted him but he's 27 1/2 and still just 50/45/50 and heading into his arbitration years. He had a 4.29 ERA and 4.88 FIP with a high homer rate and I don't see him improving any more than he has. Dreifort had a 3.15 ERA and 7 K/9 out of the bullpen and is just 26y90d old so his 50/45/45 ratings could still fill out his 65/70/60 potentials somewhat. Cedeno had a .401/.412 OBP/SLG with LA, 65/50/40/60/50 ratings and is only 23, though he'll be arbitration-eligible this offseason. Osuna might be my favorite part of this deal, with 70/45/50 ratings and a 55 movement potential. He had 9.7 K/9 with LA but walked a batter every other inning, but he's a huge live arm to put at the back of our bullpen.

    Then we picked up another reliever for spare parts, landing Jim Stoops from the Giants for 28-year-old Pedro Castellano, a corner infielder with 50 hitting ratings across the board, and 17-year-old non-prospect Darwin Marrero. Stoops is a bit of lottery ticket at a month past 26 with 65/45/35 ratings but 80/60/45 potentials. I don't expect him to reach them but like Dreifort, he could land somewhere in between.

    The next day I agonized over letting 24-year-old Eli Marrero go with his 55 power and .869 OPS in 153 PA, but he has 40 contact and 35 eye and Posada (.938) is entrenched as the starter and he'll probably never be as valuable as he is right now. He's the only guy I'd part with whom the Yankees would take for a pitching prospect I'd never heard of until they offered him up in negotiations for another player and I wanted to see what else they'd take for him. The pitcher is Ray Ricken, who never reached the majors in reality but had some decent peripherals in the minors and 60/50/45 potentials with three solid pitches. He's at 45/40/35 now so he's got some more time to spend in the minors but he's a 3-star prospect and a guy to watch for the future.

    The Sheffield trade opened up second base and we found a perfect match on a replacement, nabbing 25-year-old Scott :spezio: from Oakland along with SP Jimmy Haynes for El Duque, Bret Boone (29, impending free agent, .559 OPS), Steve Cox (23-year-old 1.5-star 1B prospect), and 250 g's. Spezio has fully developed 50/60/55/55/55 ratings, can play 1st, 2nd, or 3rd well, and has a decent .693 OPS that could probably improve. Duque had a 4.29 FIP and 1.8 WAR so I gave up some real value, but he's about to turn 33 and Spezio's a nice piece to build around. I'd have liked to get more for him but I'd have taken Spezio over Hernandez if they were both available in the draft and I didn't want to run the risk of him getting injured or declining. Haynes is about to turn 26 and is at 50/40/35 vs 50/55/45 potentials with good stamina and could be a back-end starter if he finishes developing. I'm sending him to AAA for now and putting Joe Roa (4.46 ERA in relief) in his spot for the time being.


    And so here is our roster heading into the final third of the season.

    Rotation:
    Helling (4.78 ERA)
    Dreifort
    Roa
    Ankiel (3.70 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9)
    Cooke (5.13 ERA)

    Bullpen:
    CL Osuna
    SU Stoops
    MR Lopez, Gagne
    LR Daal, Trey Moore

    Lineup:
    C Posada
    1B Snow (.823 OPS, 12 HR)
    2B Spezio
    3B Willie Greene (.722 OPS)
    SS Aurilia (.761 OPS)
    LF Cedeno
    CF Dunwoody (.790)/Payton (.654)
    RF Everett (.704)
    DH Millar (.815 OPS, team-high 17 HR)

    Bench:
    OF Midre Cummings (.658)
    IF/OF Eric Owens (.632)
    SS Rey Ordonez (just promoted, .721 and 7.4 ZR in AAA)
    C Einar Diaz
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  5. #25
    Surprisingly adequate! Mel Ott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgross68 View Post
    Mel will be thrilled with this unless you screw up Kieschnick's career, in which case you will have earned Mel's undying enmity.

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  6. #26
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    Keish Kiech Brooks sucks in this game anyway. He's a no-way player.
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  7. #27
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    Betcha thought this was VAPORWARE, didn't you? Actually, I've still been playing it. Got derailed for a bit when I tried to move the draft to June after the amateurs had already imported and it imported the next year's worth of players also. But I fixed it after spending far too long with spreadsheets! And I've kept on playing it but just haven't found the motivation to write.

    upd8s:

    Jeff Juden comes in to bolster our rotation, coming off back-to-back 2+ WAR seasons with ERAs in the low to mid 4s and K rates of 7-8. Then we took a bit of a gamble with Kenny Rogers on a minor league deal. He's had a similar ERA to Juden the past two years but has been roughly replacement level with a much lower K rate. He's the kind of sturdy arm we lack, though, and he might come in handy even if he doesn't make the team out of the gates.

    We beefed up our bullpen which was a huge black hole last year, adding 25-year-old Britt Reames (65/55/45) at $500k and Ben Weber (45/70/65) at $1M, despite neither of them having pitched in the Majors, but I expect them both to make strong debuts. They join deadline acquisition Antonio Osuna to form a sturdy bridge to new closer Stan Belinda. He's topped 10 K/9 in both of the past two seasons, with 58 saves between them.

    We're mostly returning the same lineup. Oh, except for one other new guy. Free agents are a bad investment for an expansion team when you don't want to invest too much of your budget in a player's decline years, but when you can sign a 26-year-old Carlos Delgado on a 7-year, $78 million contract, you make that deal even if it does take up about 2/5 of your budget. He is instantly the face of the franchise and was worth 8.6 wins last year. Our pitching is going to make or break us this year but we don't need to win this year to make this signing worthwhile.


    On to the draft, Arizona took Ben Sheets who was the clearcut top pitching prospect which left me to decide between Jake Peavy (65/65/60), Erik Bedard (70/65/55), and Mark Buehrle (46/65/70 and 45/50/45 presently, the most developed SP available) on the pitching side. There was only one hitter I truly considered, as Ryan Ludwick (60/60/65/50/45) and Alfonso Soriano (60/60/65/40/45) just weren't #2 material. We could use some good pitching in our system but TINSTAAPP and the top hitter was one Josh Hamilton (70/65/65/45/50). It just felt right to take Hamilton and see if his second attempt as a Devil Ray can go better than his first did.

    In the second round, we took Vicente Padilla and expected him to make a serious challenge for the opening day rotation with nearly fully developed 50/60/60 potentials. Things got grim in the third and so we took Matt Ginter, a reliever with 70 control but mediocre talents everywhere else. Chris Snelling (45/45/50/55/45) was our fourth pick and you really don't need to hear about the rest.


    We also made a couple of trades on draft day, getting younger and cheaper. I'd been unsuccessfully trying to pawn Steve Cook on someone since last season and I finally needed to get his salary off the books, at $1.8m this year and escalating to $2.48m the next two years. His control rating has plummeted to 35 and he sported a 5.08 ERA last year. I finally decided that I could pair him with another somewhat expendable veteran and figured Rick Helling fit that bill best at 2.8 years old and 1.5 WAR. He has one year of arbitration left and if I could get a younger pitcher in exchange, I could theoretically replace his production for longer and cheaper. Well, I couldn't make a straight swap of pitchers work but I did find a complementary deal and once I did, I pulled the trigger on both.

    First I shipped out Cooke and Helling to Seattle in exchange for 24-year-old Jose Cruz (40/50/55/55/45, 60 OF range, 70 arm, 70 corner OF ratings) and 23-year-old reliever Brian Fuentes (65/45/35, pretty much a flyer that the control might improve). Cruz looks like a 4th OF at best but he's a solid defender and a switch hitter and he could see some time, or even a talent bump. This was really about shedding Cooke's salary and getting whatever value we could in return. It hurts to lose Helling but I think he's due to regress and it's not like he's in our long-term plans.

    I eased the pain of his departure by dealing 28-year-old Marvin Benard to Arizona for 25-year-old SP Tom Fordham. Benard has some upside and good range but he spent most of last year OPSing .731 in AAA and especially with the addition of Cruz, we have a pretty deep outfield. Benard is a guy you like to have around but it's not going to make a difference in the long run. Fordham has 50/45/55 talents (compare to Helling's 50/45/50) with three good pitches and excellent stamina, and though his current control rating is only 40, hopefully that will improve as he just turned 25.


    After that we got another little budget bump from the owner and used it to bolster our infield, our clubhouse, and our gate receipts by inking 38-year-old Cal Ripken, Jr. to a $300k contract. He's coming off a .707 OPS and 1.4 WAR and will probably man third base against lefties.

    Added Armando Reynoso and Greg Jefferies (sic) to minor league deals. And to cap it all off, we signed Hamilton to a $2.75m bonus and a minor league contract.


    We have something like $5m left to spend but really no one left to spend it on. Greg Vaughn still has some sock but OPSed under .700 last year. 40-year-old Tony Phillips still looks good on paper but OPSed even less. What we really need is more pitching but all that's left is Bob Tewksbury and his 30 stuff rating. It looks like our squad is set for the time being. On to the 1999 season.
    Last edited by Hotblack; 05-09-2018 at 10:31 AM.
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  8. #28
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    Here is our opening day 25-man roster.

    Starting rotation:
    Jeff Juden
    Darren Dreifort
    Vicente Padilla
    Bob Wolcott
    Rick Ankiel

    Bullpen:
    CL Stan Belinda
    SU Antonio Osuna
    MR Britt Reames
    MR Ben Weber
    MR Eric Gagne
    LHP Kurt Bogott (Rule 5 pick)

    Lineup:
    C Jorge Posada
    1B Kevin Millar
    2B Scott Spezio
    3B Willie Greene/Cal Ripken
    SS Rich Aurilia
    LF Roger Cedeno
    CF Jay Payton
    RF Carl Everett
    DH Carlos Delgado

    Bench:
    C Raul Casanova
    IF/OF Eric Owens
    OF Todd Dunwoody
    OF Jose Cruz

    Matt Holliday enters the season as the league's #5 prospect, coming off a .301/.376/.476 slash line at AAA last year. Along with Josh Hamilton (#9) and Vicente Padilla (#63), we own the highest-ranked farm system in the league, just ahead of Arizona with Ben Sheets (3rd) and C.C. Sabathia (6th). The top prospect in baseball is Victor Martinez of the Mariners.
    Last edited by Hotblack; 05-08-2018 at 11:32 PM.
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  9. #29
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    After dropping the season opener, we won 5 straight and finished April at 13-11 and a game back of the Yankees, tied for second with the Red Sox. We're 5th in runs scored but 10th in runs allowed as things are shaping out pretty much as I expected. We could be sneaky good this year but it'll be in spite of our pitching. We're third in slugging percentage and OPS and second in extra-base hits.

    Carlos Delgado sports a 1.243 OPS with 12 homers, putting him on pace for 81 this year. Rich Aurilia has started out just as hot as he did last year, OPSing .936. Willie Greene has an identical mark while Scott :spezio: has put up an .896. Posada, Peyton, and Dunwoody are in the .700s. Ripken has been atrocious at 8-for-41 with only a double and a .512 OPS.

    The rotation ERA leader is Rick Ankiel, of all people. He's walked 12 guys in 17 innings but has struck out 22 after posting 10.2 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 as a rookie last year. Darren Dreifort leads the rotation in WAR (in fact, the only nonnegative starter) with a 4.24 ERA and 4.86 FIP. New arrival Bob Wolcott has a 4.09 ERA. Stan Belinda has 4 saves, 10.5 K/9, and a 2.05 ERA but the bullpen WAR has been Eric Gagne at 0.6, a tenth of a win better than the closer, with a 2.36 ERA, surprisingly good control (2.7 BB/9), and 23 K's in 26 innings. It's a huge rebound from his 7.77 last year.

    Matt Holliday has a 1.062 OPS at AAA though our scouts still think he's not quite ready with 45 contact and 30 K. I want to wait at least another month before calling him up anyway, but he might not be more than a September callup this year. He wants to be playing in the majors but is in a very good mood so I'm happy to let him keep mashing in the minors for now.
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  10. #30
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    On May 19th, we lost Cal Ripken for two months to a sprained ankle. He had been slashing .271/.323/.412 in 93 PA. We're calling up Gregg Jefferies (sic) and his .766 AAA OPS to take over for Cal at third base against lefties and as a utility infielder versus righties.

    We're at 23-18, a game back of the Sox in second place, while the Yankees have fallen to 4th at 19-18. Delgado's homerun pace has plummeted to 63, with his OPS at 1.136.
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