Mental makeup matters for the Rays


There’s no database that quantifies which team has the most knuckleheads on it. Anecdotally, however, it kinda feels like the Rays do. They’ve had a number of high-profile bad citizens — and worse — over the years. Josh Sale, Matt Bush, Toe Nash, imports like Josh Lueke and Yunel Escobar and many others have had bad character and sometimes criminal moments either with the Rays or before they got there. It’s enough to lead one to conclude that, when you’re trying to squeeze that extra 2% out of limited resources, things like preferring standup guys have to go by the wayside.

But the Rays say it’s not so. Marc Topkin talks to Rays officials as they approach the draft and they all note that, while predicting who is going to be a jerk and who isn’t is tough business, it’s business they take seriously:

“It’s something that is very important in our process,” Friedman said. “We talk about it a lot. We try to break up onfield makeup and off-the-field makeup … It’s something that is critical to how we’ve done things in the past and will continue to be.”

Maybe they’ve just had some bad luck. Maybe we’re just cherry picking the Rays’ character lapses and not noticing them as much on other teams.  But at least their front office is aware of it.

Mets pitcher Jason Vargas to have surgery on his non-throwing hand

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Yesterday the Mets announced that lefty Jason Vargas sustained a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand as the result of a comebacker during a spring training start. This morning they announced that Vargas will have surgery, which should cause him to miss the first week or so of the season.

Vargas will have the surgery tomorrow. Given that it’s on his non-throwing hand, he won’t miss much time — just a week or so of action, with another few days to get back up to speed afterward. He actually threw a bullpen session this morning. The issue is that he can’t catch a ball right now.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the Mets last month. With him missing a couple of starts, the Mets should break camp with both Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in the rotation. The two had been fighting for the final spot.