Are the Rays Insane in the membrane?




Right after midnight last night I was praying long and hard to the Baseball Gods that the message I was seeing on my computer screen was the aftereffect of some radically liberal baseball geniuses who had somehow hacked into the central mainframe of my favorite MLB rumors website and posted the lies that now had me sweating like a sacrificial lamb.

That there was a logical explanation for the confusing message. Some form of parabolic and cohesive reasoning as to why the Tampa Bay Rays decided to partake in the ritual of providing a thought of arbitration to such 2010 Rays figures as hitter Brad Hawpe and reliever Chad Qualls. That among those letters and formed words would materialize why you would even attempt to provide a chance of a 2011 salary to a duo of players who definitely were not worthy.

The shock and awe of both Qualls and Hawpe had me hyperventilating for a few moments before it came to me that a calculated plan had to be in effect. For Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman would not effectively curse or even mitigate bringing back two atrocious athletes like Hawpe and Qualls again into the Rays fold, thus risking multitudes of members of the Rays Republic from shunning the “Rays Way.”

After an hour of constant pacing and surreal images of watching inherited runner after inherited runner scoring again on Qualls in 2011,word come to me via a daydream of Hawpe actually having a pre-arbitration agreement with the Rays to decline their arbitration offer and thus become a free and clear Type-B free agent. But there were moments of fear within me that Hawpe would accept the Rays arbitration offer and possibly get a bump in his old Colorado Rockies $ 7.5 million salary for 2011.


The “gentleman’s agreement” by Hawpe and the Rays front office instantly quelled at least half of my impending stomach convulsions, with only the image of the ineffective Qualls clutching the ball on the Rays mound with the bases loaded and no outs in a 1-run game. That image is constantly churning within my skullcap after the dismal first half of Qualls season that saw him totally implode as the closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I was at first willing to give the sullen-faced Qualls a fighting chance when he walked to the Rays Bullpen on August 1st, but his quick decent down that same slippery slope that condemned him in Arizona quickly began to rear its ugly mug down in the Rays Bullpen. That Qualls combined ERA of 7.45 and .345 opponents batting average were the highest marks achieved by a Major League Baseball reliever in either league this past season.

That since his reprieve to the Rays on July 31st, right-handed hitters had only posted a .179, but left-handers feasted on Qualls to establish a pathetic .425 average since his first Rays pitch.

I instantly felt myself immersed in a putrid bath of sweat thinking about how Qualls only converted 12 saves in 43 games for the Diamondbacks while posting a horrific 8.29 ERA. That Qualls even got the chance for two separate Rays wins is still a mystery to me. That even after surrendering a 2-run Home Run to New York Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson on September 15th , thus suffering his third blown save since joining the Rays, a Dan Johnson 2-run shot then got him his 1st Rays victory.

I was instantly scared that Qualls would accept the Rays offer of arbitration with an eye on competing for the Rays closer spot in the Spring 2011, and that thought scared me all the way down to my bones. Not merely for the fact that 7 of 26 inherited runs scored on Qualls with the Rays in his brief 2010 stint, but that he was no longer the confident and prolific reliever who in 2009 converted a career high 24 saves and led all MLB relievers with a 1.21 BB/9 IP ratio and 6.43 SO/BB ratio. The immediate sightlines of his fall from grace over the past season resonated that we might have acquired a aging arm set for a breakdown.

Even at this moment it is not clear yet if Qualls enter into a same arrangement like Hawpe to vacate his chance for a 2011 spot this Spring at the arbitration table opposite the Rays front office headhunters. Hopefully it is a done deal that has not made itself privy to the media yet, or seen the light of day, but any acceptance of Qualls to be a member of the 2011 Rays is an abominable affirmation of an impending apocalypse .

Even the thought that Qualls could venture northward of the figure of his past 2010 amount of $ 4.185 million has me almost throwing up into my own mouth. I do not get too emotionally overcharged by signings or the arbitration shell game too often, but this one really just sickens me down to the core. I have nothing against Qualls personally, but as a baseball player and as a future Rays closer, I hope he never sees the light of the Rays clubhouse again.

Funny, as I write this I am feeling an uneasiness that engulfed me right after the post season when Qualls posted a 10.80 ERA in the ALDS with the thought that the Rays might consider Qualls a leader in the Rays Bullpen for 2011. Hopefully before the quickly approaching November 30th arbitration decline or acceptance deadline word will somehow leak out of the Rays silent black box that Qualls also accepted a similar plan as Hawpe. Only then can I muster even a slight sign of admiration for Qualls as he walks out of my Rays consciousness (hopefully) for the last time.


Hi RR!
You should have a job with the Rays.
Are you going to the Winter meetings?

I remember that you were wild about it when the Rays got Qualls. Sounds like he has the kind of agreement that Vazquez had with the Yanks where they decide up front that the player will decline arbitration, then offer it. Such intrigue!

You know a few people associated with the Rays do tend to read my passages from time to time.
Believe me, I have pleaded, begged and basically plugged myself with a few people within the Rays organization that I could be an asset since….2005.
But to this day I am considered a fan and not an employable option. That is what I get for not having a team in this region like the Rays when I was fesh out of college and done playing football.
I really need to find a time machine….

Rays Renegade

I think the biggest thing for me about Qualls is that in the situation with Benoit, he is already signed, so the end result is already decided.
With Hawpe, the end result was sign, sealed and delivered even before the arbitration offer, and the public knew about the deal.
But Qualls arrangement or not has been a silent gesture.
Maybe I just want closure to know Qualls will not darken my Rays mood in 2011.

Rays Renegade

Brad Hawpe was a pretty good outfielder for the Rockies for a few years, but not recently. Having him as a backup outfielder is not insane. And plus, once Crawford becomes a free agent next year, the Rays need someone to turn to for left field. I don’t quite know why they picked Chad Qualls as a reliever, though. I as terrible a team as the D-Backs are, Qualls must have been REALLY bad. But, they don’t need a TON of great relievers. They’ve got the best starting pitching in the AL. They can go a good 7 or 8 innings on one of their good days. Plus, ya got Rafael as your closer. Now as sucky of a bullpen as the Cubs had last season, I think you guys are pretty fortunate considering what young players you have.

Brad Hawpe ended up being Pat Burrell Lite for the Rays and should not be granted enterance again into the Trop unless he buys a ticket.
Qualls….Well everyone South of Alaska knows I thought it was a disaster waiting to happen….and hopefully he will not pull a 180 and accept arbitration.
Soriano and Carl Crawford will realaign again with Halos on their hats in the next two weeks.
The Rays have three other outfielder not named Desmond Jennings who can fill the LF hole in 2010…Think Matt Joyce.

Rays Renegade

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