You know the old saying – keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I reached out to my Fanball blog colleagues that run the great blogs for the Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees to suggest that each of us create nine questions we would like to have answered by the competition and each of them were very eager to participate. I will be posting their responses to my questions here and they will be posting my responses to their questions on their respective blogs. Please use the navigational menu to the top right of this blog to visit their sites in the next couple of days to see what I had to say about the competition. Today, we hear from Daniel Moroz who runs both the Camden Crazies blog and the hilarious mattwietersfacts.com. A big thanks to Daniel for taking the time to share his thoughts with us.
How has the addition of Rafael Soriano to the bullpen affected your opinion of the Rays’ bullpen?
It’s gotten better, certainly. He’s not an elite closer, but he’s certainly very good. And he does push everyone down a spot, which provides more depth in innings 6-8 as well.
Joe Maddon has done many things as manager of the Rays from intentionally walking someone with the bases loaded to stealing bases down 9-0. What is your opinion of his managerial style
It’s hard to gauge a manager unless they do some extreme things or you see them on a day-to-day basis (and then it’s still tricky). I’m not a huge fan of the stealing bases down 9-0, as the break-even point for success seems like it would be very high. If it is done correctly though, then I suppose it’s OK. As long as he has a good reason for the things he does then I’m a fan – most managers seem to do things because “that’s the thing to do”.
The Rays come into 2010 with 3 starting pitchers who have a year or less major league experience. Which of Price, Niemann, and Davis do you expect will be the best of the bunch and why?
I’d say Price, as he has the highest ceiling (and is left-handed), followed by Davis and then Neimann. Price and Davis can both be closer to top-of-the-rotation starters, in my opinion, whereas Neimann is more of a mid-rotation guy. Having a #3 starter like Big Nyquil as someone further down on the depth chart is certainly nice though.
B.J. Upton is often painted by game announcers and other media types as lackadaisical and disinterested at times. What is your perception of how Upton plays the game?
I perceive him as being pretty darn good. I don’t think very many baseball players give 100% all the time, and frankly I don’t know if it’s even good to do that. You reasonably try your best when you can, and go all-out when it matters. Ichiro often seems to get criticized for being like that in the outfield, and I recall him saying sometimes he’ll dive for balls just to show people that he’s trying… instead of just gliding over to make an easy catch. If there are situations where Upton isn’t running the ball out on a grounder when putting in even decent effort would have made him safe, then I understand the frustration. That kind of thing should be corrected.
Whose wave of near-ready major league talent impresses you most: The Rays or the Orioles?
If we’re just talking about guys who are still in the minors, then I’d have to go with the Rays. The Orioles’ system got thinned out quite a bit last season, so what’s left doesn’t stack up with the Rays at the high end (the O’s don’t have a Desmond Jennings).
The Rays are now serious contenders for the division after being more of an innocent bystander for most of the franchise history. How do you feel the addition of a third to a division that has been mainly a two horse race has helped or hurt the division?
I’d feel better if it was a two horse race between the Rays and the Orioles, but anything that can knock one of the two power-houses out even occasionally is a plus. If the Rays were in another division, I’d be a huge fan. Even as it is, I like them quite a bit (at least until the O’s start contending).
If your team could take any player from the Rays roster for 2010, which one would you want
Evan Longoria. He’s the best player on the team. (Though really, I wouldn’t take anyone since it might hurt the Rays chances of beating the Sox or Yanks.)
What are your opinions to how GM Andrew Friedman has handled the franchise since taking over the GM role from Chuck LaMar?
A+++. The guy has turned around a once terrible franchise, and done it under perhaps the toughest conditions in baseball given their budget and the division in which they play.
Who is the one player on the Rays team that you admire most – maybe not for his statistical production as much as how he plays the game.
I’ll go with the BZA… Zorilla… Ben Zobrist*. He’ll play anywhere on the field, and seems quite happy to do it. And the whole working hard to turn from a not very good hitter into a beast thing was pretty awesome too. * As an aside, the Rays seem to have quite a few good nicknames on the team as well. I’m a fan.