Rays Notes: Fernando Rodney Named Closer of the Year, Nelson Hired As Assistant Hitting Coach

Fernando Rodney was downright unbelievable in 2012, delivering a 0.60 ERA, a 76-15 strikeout to walk ratio, and 45 saves in 76 relief appearances, and he has been acknowledged for his incredible performance one more time. Fernando has won the GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Award for baseball’s Closer of the Year as voted on by members of MLB front offices, the media, ex-big league players, and fans voting on MLB.com. Congrats to Rodney once again and Rays fans can’t wait to see what Rodney will do for an encore in 2013.

Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton cannot be blamed for all the Rays’ hitting struggles in 2012. It was not Shelton’s fault that Evan Longoria missed most of the season, and caused the Rays’ offense collapse for the entire middle of the season. But the Rays are going to do everything they can to maximize their offensive output and one thing they decided to do was hire an assistant hitting coach to work with Shelton to try to get the Rays’ hitters in sync. According to Marc Topkin, the Rays have promoted ex-big league catcher Jamie Nelson as both an assistant hitting coach and an catching instructor as they try to squeeze everything they get out of their ballclub. Hopefully Nelson can make a positive impact on the Rays’ offense and catching core next season.

Speaking of Longoria’s recovery, the Rays announced along with Longoria’s extension that Longoria underwent a procedure on his left hamstring. Now Rooger Mooney is reporting that the Rays are not sure that Longoria will be ready for the start of spring training (as noted by Cork Gaines of Rays Index). The Rays had Longoria undergo this procedure in order to give him the best possible chance at being completely healthy next season and moving forward, and at this point they just need to wait for him to be completely healthy before bringing back. Even once he does return to the lineup, the Rays are going to start being more careful with him- him starting about one game a week at DH next season would not be surprising. The Rays are committed to Longoria for the foreseeable future and are going to do everything they can to keep him healthy. It’s disconcerting that he might not be ready for the start of spring training, but hopefully it will help Longoria stay healthy next season.

Finally, in a piece of news that can’t possibly be spun positives, Jon Heyman had this quote about David Price in an article from yesterday.

Their people conceded their chances to lock up Price beyond his current contract are nil considering he’s easily a $25 million-plus pitcher now, even if Greinke doesn’t hit the $25 million mark.

After the year Price just had, it’s impossible to imagine the Rays without him. Hopefully things will change- we know Price loves playing with the Rays- but the bottom line is that Rays fans have to appreciate everything he has given the team since the Rays selected him first overall back in 2007 and everything the Rays have done the last five years with Price playing a major role knowing that we never know when Price’s time with the Rays will end.

Topics: David Price, Evan Longoria, Fernando Rodney, Jamie Nelson, Tampa Bay Rays

Want more from Rays Colored Glasses?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.