One of the reasons the Rays have had such a hard go of it lately has been that their best hitter — Evan Longoria — is really fighting it. He went 0 for 5 in last night’s loss to the Padres and he’s 4 for his last 31 in his last eight games.
As Tony Fabrizio of the Tampa Tribune notes in his game story this morning, Longoria grounded into a double play with two
on in the third, stranded six runners in all, and then topped the night off by striking out to end the game with the tying run at first base.
Longoria will get better, of course, because he is better. But one thing is clear: the Rays’ skid is not just a function of happenstance. They’ve been putting in a full-team’s effort worth of stink lately.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.