Rays fans and baseball fans across the country got on edge when they heard Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweet this:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 18, 2012
After reading that tweet and the subsequent article on the rumors, Rays fans couldn’t help but laugh. We love Carl Crawford, but trading for him in exchange for Hanley Ramirez? Why would the Marlins possibly do that? And you know how the Red Sox bullpen has been disastrous this year? Heath Bell has completely fallen apart and would fit right in! This deal would involve 239 million dollars in salaries, which would be a major league record. It also doesn’t make any sense. Buster Olney quashed the rumors with this tweet.
Sources:There is no current discussion involving Crawford and Hanley Ramirez/Heath Bell. Was brought up briefly as concept,immediately died.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 18, 2012
In other news, the brand new competitive balance lottery occurred today, with small-market teams participating in a lottery to receive extra draft picks in two different compensation rounds, one after round one of the 2013 MLB Draft (Compensation Round A) and the other after round two (Compensation Round B). The lottery was weighted based on winning percentage, making the Rays’ odds of winning very low. They and the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals were the only teams not ro receive a selection in either round. Here’s the order of the teams receiving selections, courtesy of MLB.com.
Compensation Round A: 1) Royals 2) Pirates 3) Diamondbacks 4) Orioles 5) Reds 6) Marlins
Compensation Round B: 1) Padres 2) Indians 3) Rockies 4) Athletis 5) Brewers 6) Tigers
The Diamondbacks and Reds beat the odds by getting Round A picks despite winning records in 2011 while the Tigers and Brewers, both of whom made their league’s LCS in 2011, stand out as winning teams in Round B.
This competitive balance lottery still could come into play for the Rays because these picks, unlike any other draft picks, can be traded. We could see the Rays acquire a draft pick should they make a trade with one of these teams. It should be interesting to see what teams decide to do with these picks.
Rays president Matthew Silverman described the competitive balance lottery to Marc Topkin the Tampa Bay Times as not being sufficient to help small market teams like the Rays, especially considering the Rays didn’t even get a selection.
“We’ve been involved in baseball for seven years, long enough to see two new basic agreements get ratified,” Silverman said. “From day one, we have advocated for meaningful change especially when it comes to addressing the dramatic imbalances in our game. Meaningful change has not occurred. It must go well beyond a trifling draft pick that a team in our position may, or as today showed, may not be fortunate enough to receive.”
Additional big news surrounding the Rays involved William Dillon, a man wrongfully imprisoned in jail in 27 years for a murder he did not commit, throwing out the first pitch before Wednesday’s Rays game a singing the national anthem. Dillon, who was released in 2008 and received a personal apology along with 1.35 million dollars in compensation from the governor of Florida, is an aspiring country singer who gave a fine performance for the anthem and also threw the ball strongly for the first pitch, and he wore a black shirt with the words “Not Guilty” on it while he was on the field. Fox News talked more about Dillon’s story here. Really an incredible story of perseverance on Dillon’s part, and it was a treat to be a part of that as Rays fans.
And we close with a couple of tweets pertaining to Rays players.
On the positive side of the coin — JP Howell has not surrendered a run in his last 12 outings after that 1-2-3 8th. #Rays
— Rays GameDay (@RaysGameDay) July 19, 2012
— Rays Partners (@RaysPartners) July 18, 2012