In the last three days, chaos has transpired for the Tampa Bay Rays. There is simply no other way to put it.
A lot has happened, and it’s difficult to wrap our heads around most of it. We knew that Matt Joyce would be traded, but little did we know that he would be traded for a reliever because Jake McGee will miss the start of the 2015 season after arthroscopic elbow surgery. But all of that is nothing compared to the Rays’ next trade, which sent Wil Myers out of town in a perplexing deal.
Myers was believed to be critical to the Rays’ future up until the moment the rumors started that he would be dealt. Even more important to the Rays’ future, though, may be the fact that St. Petersburg council rejected the agreement that would have allowed the Rays to look at stadium sites throughout Tampa Bay. Is this the beginning of the end for the Rays in Tampa Bay?
Then to cap it all, amid all of the uncertainty about what the coming years will hold and the disloyalty shown by both the Rays and St. Petersburg, the Rays looked to the past and rewarded men who had been loyal to them. After being the Rays’ third base coach since the start of Rays baseball, Tom Foley finally got a promotion, ascending to bench coach under Kevin Cash.
Longtime Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo, meanwhile, was rewarded for his tremendous success with the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate by being named third base coach. Finally, as Myers departs, Rocco Baldelli, who was a high-upside outfield prospect in his own right not all that long ago, will become the Rays’ first base coach. Baldelli is just 33, younger than Ben Zobrist, but he will get the opportunity to start as second career as a coach.
Time will tell just how important these last 72 hours will be in Tampa Bay Rays history. Will the Myers trade be a stroke a brilliance from Matt Silverman or the black spot on his record? Will the Rays truly leave Tampa Bay or will they continue to negotiate with St. Petersburg? Whatever the case may be, it is a tumultuous time to be following the Tampa Bay Rays, and while not everything has been positive, it has been an interesting time as well.