Expected news from the Rays yesterday, as the announcement was made that CC’s option for 2009 has been picked up, while Rocco Baldelli’s has been declined. Obviously given his situation, the decision over Rocco’s option is no surprise – though like many fans I’m sure I do hope that we haven’t seen him in a Rays uniform for the last time.
Of course picking up CC’s option was an even bigger no-brainer. At $8.25million, he will still be one of the biggest bargains around, and I for one hope that he will be in St Pete for years beyond this current contract. Though for the stat-watchers there is obviously a big question mark hanging over him this year – his 5-year streak of increased batting average is getting tougher and tougher to keep going. It was up to .315 in 2007, and you know what, I think the smart money could be on a .316+ year in ’08!
We’ve also signed Dan Wheeler to a 2 year extension which, considering the cost – $10m – is an encouraging sign that the bullpen is a serious focus. Its one of the last pieces of the puzzle, and Wheeler is the sort of solid pitcher that we need to have around for the late innings.
Meanwhile, tonight Matt Garza makes his Rays debut, and I am looking forward to it. Midnight first pitch UK time, so whether I watch tonight or tomorrow is still to be decided – it will probably depend how awake I need to be for work in the morning!
In other news, I have set up a parallel Rays from across the pond over on Blogspot. The thing I’ve always liked about MLBlogs is the traffic that can be generated for even a relatively obscure blog like mine, but at the moment I’m not convinced that thats going to continue to be the case. So I figured that while I see how things play out, I may as well take advantage of the easy customisability (possibly not a real word) on offer there and start cross-posting to see which I prefer. Hopefully if things work out, and the issues here are sorted then I will continue the main Rays-watching here, and add in some more wider-baseball world posts over there. But we shall see.