Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Or, in other words, everyone's suddenly discovered the Tampa Bay Flatfish.

I'll give full credit to the folks like Jayson Stark who were on to the Rays before the season started, but even so, the sudden attention paid to them is a bit overwhelming. Look, these guys are good. They've been getting good for a while, and it doesn't take the fact that they're magically in first place to anoint them as Suddenly Very Interesting. Frankly, it's a wonder it took them this long to get good - you keep on drafting high, and unless your name is Bidwill or Sterling, your team is going to get better in a hurry - though former GM Chuck LaMar's no-trade clause may have had something to do with that.

Still, it's been coming for a while. Even with the setbacks - Baldelli's mitochondria, Gomes' shoulder, Jackson's wildness, Guzman's growth spurt - they've assembled a stunning collection of young talent that's been doing it for a while now. It's just that they finally added the last few pieces they needed - a back end of the bullpen, a good defense up the middle, a third starter who allowed them to move J.P. Howell to the bullpen - and voila, a good team.

Next up, all the yammering about how since they're so young, they can't hold up under pennant race pressure. Because, you know, Jacoby Ellsbury and Joba Chamberlain just completely folded last year.

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