Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and the the front office staff should take a trip North to Channelside Drive in downtown Tampa and see how a first class organization like the Tampa Bay Lightning keep fans enthused and excited about the product.
With the trade of Logan Forsythe to the LA Dodgers this week, another fan favorite is gone. Forsythe was easily the third most popular player on the team behind Kevin Keiermeir and Evan Longoria. You could put Chris Archer in there as well. Forsythe was also a favorite in the clubhouse and many veterans appreciated his heart and hustle, and dedication to making the team better.
Forsythe teamed with Brad Miller to form a decent middle infield combination till Matt Duffy arrived from San Francisco. It is no secret that the Rays are struggling financially and this was done to save a few bucks. The Rays did get a decent prospect in pitcher Jose De Leon. At OKC in AAA ball last year De Leon was 7-1, 2,64 ERA. 20 walks and 111 K’s. He is expected to start the season at AAA Durham. De Leon could get a Mid-season call-up.
So, who fills Forsythe’s spot at 2B? Tim Beckham and Nick franklin have not proven themselves to be ready for a full-time spot in Tampa. SS Wily Adames could be ready for a spot maybe by mid-season. He is one of the Rays highly touted prospects, but has never played above AA Montgomery. So the plan is for Adames to start the season at Durham at The AAA level, and then give him a shot in Tampa mid-year.
Adames was added to the MLB roster in November, so will get a shot at making the team out of spring training. The jump from AA to the Major leagues is difficult. Thus the expectation is he will start the season in Durham.
With attendance struggling at Tropicana Field, this trade does not do anything to put fannies in the seats. All it does is reinforce the notion that the Rays are not committed to winning and will not put a winning team on the field.
If you thought attendance was bad last year, wait till you see the empty seats in April and May. It is a sad state of affairs internally with the Rays and unfortunately the fans will pay the price.