Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game 3

The Rays are not moving anyplace and are likely stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027


White the headline talks up a “possible move,” this interview of Rays owner Stuart Sternberg by Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi seems pretty unequivocal: the Rays aren’t going anyplace and Sterberg is more focused on beginning to lay the groundwork for the Rays ballpark which comes after that iron-clad lease on Tropicana Field expires in [gulp] 2027.

About that date, Sternberg says:

It’s far, but it’s not that far because I can’t in 2026 snap my fingers and all of a sudden have a place to play. The groundwork needs to be done, starting very soon. You’ve got to figure out the proper location, whether it’s 10 yards from where we’re playing or 30 miles. Then you have to figure out if it’s feasible. Then you have to go through the approvals and everything else. Even if you have a location, just to get that OK’d takes years. Then it takes years to actually build the thing. At some point in the next few years, we’ve got to have it figured out.

He sounds pretty resigned.

He also has a lot to say about moving cities (he doesn’t want to) and Morosi asks him a few questions about Montreal (he’s not interested but believes baseball will be back there someday, maybe in 20 years).

Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon
Leave a comment

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
Leave a comment

According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.