This part of the season usually gives us playoff races, but we really only have one in play right now. In their absence, we’re sort of in a pre-postseason holding pattern, with no major news or action to keep us busy until the games start to truly matter again.
Thank goodness, then, for some early hot stove action, courtesy of the St. Petereburg Times. They break down the Rays’ offseason roadmap this morning. The upshot: keep the rotation as it is, plan on Longoria, Upton and Zobrist being untouchable, but dangle anyone else and see if a good deal comes along. Yes, anyone, including Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford and Carlos Peña, all of whom have probably peaked even if a lot of people haven’t noticed it yet. The goal: get some bullpen help and address the problems at catcher and DH. Oh, and this is fun:
In a perfect world, the Rays upgrade at catcher or DH without hurting themselves elsewhere. How do you do that? Finding the right match. For instance, the Rays were interested in Milton Bradley last off-season before he signed with the Cubs.
Bradley had a tumultuous season in Chicago — as he has elsewhere — and will probably be traded. If the Rays convince the Cubs that Burrell could excel by returning to the NL in the walk year of his contract, they might have a willing partner. Their 2010 salaries are a wash, but the Rays will have to figure out a way to negate Bradley’s $12 million salary in 2011.
Is it likely? Probably not, but that’s the sort of deal the Rays will probably be seeking.
Yes, you read that correctly. Mere days after he was suspended for being utter cancer to a ballclub, people are out lobbying for Milton Bradley. And I’m not sure what’s crazier: Bradley himself, the idea to bring him to Tampa Bay, or the fact that I kinda like it.
I know it’s premature, but man you gotta love the hot stove season. Anything can happen and nothing is nuts.