Every Rays fan remembers Scott Kazmir in the height of his glory serving as a beacon of hope for the future on a Devil Rays team that was going nowhere. We can’t forget when he predicted that the Rays would make the playoffs before the 2008 season and they did just that. And unfortunately we can’t overlook how his career suddenly completely fell apart until he was out of baseball after just one game in 2011. But we have watched the past few months as Kazmir has made progress towards a comeback with the Independent Sugar Land Skeeters and now with the Gigantes de Carolina in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League in Puerto Rico this offseason, and we’ve seen him really make progress. Carson Cistulli of Fangraphs talked about Kazmir’s return to relevance and ranked him as the number one pitcher in his SCOUT leaderboard for the RCPBL which is based on adjusted strikeout and walk rate. Good luck to Kazmir trying to resurrect his career, and it would be amazing to see him start another game in Tampa Bay someday even as a visitor.
In Rays that may or may not make any difference at all, Rays president Matthew Silverman bought a 1.5 million dollar house in St. Petersburg. He could obviously sell the house, but it’s nice to see a high-ranked Rays executives set down his roots with a major financial commitment in Tampa Bay, and hopefully the Silverman family with be staying there for a long time.
To finish, Marc Topkin, writing for Baseball America, talked to Rays Director of Minor League Operations Mitch Lukevics about left-handers Enny Romero and Felipe Rivero, both players who the Rays protecting on their 40-man roster this offseason. Lukevics gave nice reviews of both pitchers
In Romero, Lukevics said, the Rays see a pitcher who is “big and strong with plus-plus stuff. He’s a big arm with big stuff. There’s still room for development but we feel there’s a lot of upside there.”
And though he has had some control problems, Lukevics added, “We are confident that he can throw strikes and will throw strikes.”
Rivero is not as big or strong, Lukevics said, but has “a lightning quick arm with a good feel for command for all of his pitches.”
The Rays are excited to see what Romero and Rivero can do for their team in coming years and believe they have a pair of pitchers with the ability to continue the strong tradition of starting pitching that the Rays have established.