The Rays took two out of three from the Blue Jays this weekend. They go into the All-Star break trailing the Red Sox by 1.5 games in the American League East.
The Rays had activated Vidal Brujan as their “27th man” for the Wednesday double header, but with plans to keep him around longer. Well, it looks like Mike Brosseau came down with a the sore
roster spot oblique muscle that so often afflicts those players on the roster bubble. Brujan now has his 26-man roster spot. (To be clear, Brosseau may indeed have a badly strained oblique. It’s possible!)
The Rays All-Star contingent will include Kevin Cash and his coaches (earned by winning the 2020 AL pennant), Mike Zunino (chosen by his peers, discussed here ($)), and Joey Wendle, chosen (by Cash) as a substitute for an injured player:
Humbled was the main word the #Rays Joey Wendle used about going to the All Star Game. Kevin Cash, who teases Wendle often, told the team Mike Trout couldn’t make it so they took the next best player— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) July 10, 2021
It’s taken a while, but ESPN has finally figured out that the Rays are playing meaningful games. We all know, of course, that if it’s a nationally televised game there will HAVE to be a ball hitting a catwalk:
The August 1 game will be the fifth ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game to be broadcast from Tropicana Field, and the first since July 17, 2011, which was also against Boston. #Rays— Steve Carney (@stevecarney) July 10, 2021
The Rays sent Xavier Edwards and Shane Baz to the MLB Futures Game on Sunday. Baz had an impressive outing:
98.5— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 11, 2021
Shane Baz has thrown the fastest pitch so far in the All-Star Futures Game. pic.twitter.com/PLPAB7q8hb
Seems like the “Rays way” in recent years has been to draft/trade for shortstops, figuring I suppose that these very athletic players can manage all the other positions.
A pretty straightforward answer from #Rays scouting director Rob Metzler on whether you can have too many SS prospects: "No."— Steve Carney (@stevecarney) July 12, 2021
Ice Rays news
Tampa’s Stanley Cup boat parade will be held today. If you go, tweet us your pictures at @draysbay!
Nikita Kucherov, I believe, spoke for many of us in his now viral “Number one bulls....” rant. And now Bud Lite wants him as their spokesman.
Around the League
MLB has its draft, Futures Game and All-Star activities this week. As is often the case, many top players who were selected for All-Star honors are injured (some actually on IL, others begging off for less significant injuries):
MLB says Mookie Betts will not participate in All-Star Game. Also out: Two pitchers scheduled to pitch Sunday (Gausman, Woodruff), all four Astros (Altuve, Brantley, Correa, Pressly); deGrom; Darvish; Posey. Betts and others have injuries, per MLB. Pressly on paternity leave.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 10, 2021
With the top draft pick, the Pirates went with a catcher; Rangers took Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter at number two.
Baseball media can’t stop writing about Shohei Ohtani’s season. Here’s Ken Rosenthal’s take ($)
The Yankees earned accolades when they gave “bat girl” honors to a Gwen Goldman, a woman who had been denied that honor sixty years earlier. This prompted Ashley MacLennan to wonder about this history of the bat girl.
Pro Publica, a nonprofit investigative news service, has been doing some deep dive research on the many ways wealthy people avoid taxes. Most recently they have shown how sports team owners (not just baseball, of course) can take advantage of several (legal) practices to use paper losses on their investments to write of hundreds of millions of dollars in income. Keep this in mind whenever team owners cry poverty. You can find their full analysis here, an overview of their findings here.
From the “You Hate to See It” department of Schadenfreude:
MLB teams are 493-2 when leading by 4+ runs entering the 9th inning this season.— Jared Berson (@JaredBerson) July 11, 2021
The Yankees have both losses.