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Devil Made 'em Do It
2004-03-26 00:01
by Mike Carminati

After an offseason of signing over-the-hill stars and never-has-beens, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays seemed destined to a typically poor D-Ray season. Hadn't they done this before? I thought it would be different when Sweet Lou Piniella came to town.

Well, that's what I used to think. Then I read this in today's Lee Sinins ATM Report:

The Devil Rays released SS Deivi Cruz, 3B Fernando Tatis and Ps Mike Williams and Todd Jones, sent 1B Fred McGriff, C Pete LaForest, C/INF Edwards Guzman and Ps Todd Ritchie, Travis Harper, Dewon Brazelton and Jesus Colome to the minors and placed P Jason Standridge on the 15 day DL.

McGriff, who was in camp more to be given a chance to impress another team than to make the Devil Rays, was given permission to try to work out a deal with someone else.

In one fell swoop (or one swell foop), the D-Rays have divested themselves of almost all of the overvalued talent (Cruz, Tatis, Williams, Jones, Ritchie, and McGriff). Really, what isTampa Bay doing with McGriff, a 40-year-old first baseman who had a league average adjusted OPS last season?

I don't know if they wised up in the intervening months or if they are just going with younger, cheaper players. This team has improved by getting rid of the dreck. What about Robert Fick and Tino Martinez at first, you ask? Well, neither is what you want in a young rebuilding team (or I guess a building team since they were never good enough to be classified being called built in the first place).

I do feel bad for McGriff, who remains nine home runs short of 500. I think that if he is forced to retire now, he will receive very little support for the Hall, though I would say that he fits the de facto standards.

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