I've enjoyed hearing every "expert" say that the Tampa Bay Rays are going to repeat as AL East and AL champions. Reason #1: The pitching will only improve because of the addition of young phenom David Price to the rotation.
Well, it turns out that young Mister Price will start his season in Durham along Nuke LaLoosh. The Rays management feels that this will allow them to more effectively limit his innings considering he pitched only 139 1/3 in 2008. I can't say that I disagree with this innings limit, but couldn't the Rays try something like the Yankees are doing with Joba, i.e. skipping his turn ever so often?
Rays vice president of baseball operation Andrew Friedman said Wednesday Price should be called up later in the season.
I expect this to be around June. Any time earlier than that and Price would become a "Super Two" player, meaning that he would become arbitration eligible at the end of his 2nd season in the Bigs rather than his 3rd as is typically the case. Despite the innings reason that the Rays gave, I believe that this "Super Two" prevention is the real reason for the move. The Rays are notorious cheapskates despite the new ownership group's assertion to the contrary. Just ask Delmon Young, whose withholding from Major League service in order to prevent "Super Two" status resulted in his stunted development.
A Note To The Rays: If you want to play with the Big Boys (i.e. the Yanks and Sawx), you are going to have to consistently put your best players on the Diamond.
Any Rays "fans" out there care to comment on the matter?
"Experts": Do you still think the Rays will beat out both the Yanks and the Sawx?