Rays New Stadium?

rays-new.jpg 

The St. Petersburg Times brings us the model for the proposed $450 million, open-air stadium, complete with a sail and everything.  A sail! ha  Anyway, the stadium would be on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, and would seat 34,000 fans.  It seems there will be a large mast in the outfield as well, which would pull “sails” over the stands.  This will hopefully keep the fans cooler in that sometimes unbearable Florida heat. 

Rays officials claim that the new stadium would not cost taxpayers any new money, and that if it runs over the $450M budget, then the team would take on all additional costs.  The hope is that this new stadium will get approval, and be set to open in the 2012 season. 

Percival to the Devil Rays?

drays.jpg 

This one comes courtesy of Buster Olney. Troy Percival, who had a nice year last season with St.Louis (1.80 ERA in 40 IP), is working on a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As Buster Olney reports, one should expect the D-Rays would be promising Percival the closer’s role next season. Terms to a possible deal are not yet available.

Percival has 324 career saves, and will be 39 years old in August of 2008.

The Devil Rays have been active today, as they have also been rumored to be on the verge of acquiring SP Matt Garza (among others) for OF Delmon Young.

Update: According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are offering Percival the setup role in front of Mariano Rivera, and the Brewers are looking to possibly put Percival in the closer’s role, on a short-term deal. 

Update: Percival and the Devil Rays have inched closer on a multi-year contract (expected to be a 2 year deal).

Rays and Twins Complete Trade

delmon.jpggarza2.jpg

The Star Tribune is reporting that the Twins are close to acquiring Delmon Young for Matt Garza. These two seem to be the principles in the deal, although, the deal is rumored to include 6 players.

The rest of the deal breaks down as follows: Jason Bartlett and Juan Rincon (steroid cheat) to the Rays and SS Brendan Harris and OF Jason Pridie to the Twins.

I like the Rays side of this deal. They have an abundance of OF talent and lack the SP to go along with their offense. In this deal, they get a #2-type SP, a legit set-up man and a very good defensive SS with some offensive spunk. They get rid of the headache that was Young in the process.

Update: It’s official. Tampa Bay gets SP Matt Garza, INF Brendan Harris, and OF Jason Pridie. Headed to Minnesota are OF Delmon Young, SS Jason Bartlett RP Eduardo Morlan.

ID’ing a Fleece in the Making – Izturis

izturis.jpg

Here at Fleece Factor, we not only report on a rumored fleece, an old fleece or a recently made fleece….we are in the business of detecting a potential fleece as well.

In Marc Tompkin’s piece in the St. Petersburg Times, we might have caught a glimpse of Cesar Izturis gift wrapping a fleece that will soon be placed under a GM’s Xmas tree. Tompkin makes the statement that the Rays might look to the trade market as the competition for Izturis is getting pretty heavy…..ummmm, Iztturis?!?!?! Wow…

I mean, the guy is alllllriiiiight. But come on…

Great Moments In Fleece History: The Scott Kazmir Trade

kazmir.jpgduquette.jpgredfleece.jpg

If you’re a fan of the New York Mets, don’t read any further.

On July 30, 2004, the New York Mets dealt top pitching prospect Scott Kazmir and pitcher Joselo Diaz to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for starting pitcher Victor Zambrano and relief pitcher Bartolome Fortunato. The Mets found themselves 6 games out of a playoff spot at the trading deadline that year, and increased pressure from the Wilpons to win “now” was the cause of Jim Duquette (then General Manager of the NY Mets) to push the panic button…and push it hard.

Victor Zambrano appeared in 39 games as a member of the Mets (35 starts) from 2004-2006. Zambrano went 10-14 in that time, posting a marginal ERA of roughly 4.45. He was oft-injured, and never achieved success with the Mets’ ball-club.

Scott Kazmir, on the other hand, has become one of the brightest young starters in baseball. While he has issues at times finding the plate, Kazmir has become a strikeout machine for the Devil Rays. Since the trade, Kazmir has posted a 34-29 record for Tampa, with an ERA of 3.64. He has 617 strikeouts in 570 2/3 innings pitched. Oh, and he is also turning just 24 in January of 2008.

The NY media has thrown fuel on the fire, making reference to this fleece quite often over the last few years, and who can blame them? To this date, no one truly knows what went on in the Mets’ front office that season to make them pull the trigger on such a monumental fleece. Duquette fitted himself, and every New York Mets fan with a warm, fuzzy, size XXXL fleece for years to come. Regardless of Kazmir’s success in the coming years, Zambrano’s failures will cement this trade in “the Hall of Shame”, while Kazmir’s achievements will serve as a reminder to the Mets organization: Oh, what could have been?

Rumor: Matt Garza for Delmon Young?

garza.jpgAt the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Charley Walters is calling this “the rumor that won’t die”. Delmon Young has “stud” potential written all over him, although it’s hard to believe the Twins would trade Garza, who many project as a #2 type starter, with the pending Johan Santana situation. Garza’s name has surfaced this off-season often, as the Twins are in fact searching for a young outfield bat with the loss of Torii Hunter. It seems more likely to me that a Boof Bonser would be dealt.

The path the Twins choose to pursue, whether it be trading Johan Santana or Matt Garza, could be dependant on the rehab status of LHP Francisco Liriano. He has had no set-backs in his rehab to date, but he had a ligament replacement surgery that makes the left hander’s status very fragile.

Carlos Pena Update; Plus More Rays Rumors

Eduardo Encina is our source for Tampa Bay Rays rumors once again as the St. Petersburg Times writer informs us just now that Carlos Pena and his agent, Scott Boras, are still working to get a deal done with the Rays, but that nothing is imminent.  Encina reports that, according to Pena, a rumored 3 year, $30M offer was never offered by Tampa.  Apparently, reports had suggested Pena rejected such an offer.  Pena’s agent, Scott Boras, was quoted last season as saying Pena was having “a $15 million season.”  (The report that the entire MLB community collectively responded, “Alllllllllriiiiiiiiiight” to that comment is unconfirmed).

In other Rays news – and to follow up on a rumor relayed here at The Fleece Factor last week – Encina reports that the chances of the Washington Nationals acquiring troubled outfielder Elijah Dukes are “between a 6 and a 7” on a scale of 10.   Dmitri appears to be on board and is ready to mentor. 

Also, the Rays are interested in shortstop Cesar Izturis.