Breaking: Sam Fuld will become a free agent, and will consider all options, after the Rays chose against tendering his contract. Fuld posted a .199 BA, with two homers and 17 RBI in 119 games (48 starts) in 2013.
Per Marc Topkin, one potential element on the Fuld non-tender is Brandon Guyer who is out of options.
“Anytime you win 90-plus games, it’s been a pretty good year, it really is, and regardless of what anyone else might want to say. From my perspective, I’m really proud of our group. I don’t want to be cliche-ridden, but there’s nothing to hang our heads about, their really isn’t.
“A great battle all season. We were an up and down kind of a team, we hit some really good moments and some really bad moments. But at the end of the day you still win 92 games, that’s pretty darn good.
“Retrospectively, we didn’t get where we wanted to get, but I cannot be more proud or pleased with our group.”—Joe Maddon (via strasburgs)
DeJesus LF Myers RF Loney 1B Longoria 3B Zobrist 2B Jennings CF Johnson DH Escobar SS Lobaton C Hellickson RHP
-How amazing was the crowd last night? Not only was the sellout crowd loud (actually, it was very loud), I LOVED hearing the very audible chants of “BUCHHOLZ….BUCHHOLZ!” A wise friend of mine once penned a song, “Scream Until You’re Coughing Up Blood,” and, well, that’s exactly what I did last night — and I can’t wait to do it again tonight.
-Hey TBS, shove off. I reserved the right to not comment about TBS’s coverage of the ALDS when the “nerd” controversy started, after Saturday’s game. However, from all accounts, your analysts are ill prepared at best. No, you may not complain about the catwalks while giving that put-put course of a stadium, in Boston, a pass. And no, contrary to what you may believe, this isn’t Lobaton’s first rodeo — he had two walk-off’s prior to last night’s game winning blast. And no, he doesn’t need y’all to welcome him to the big leagues, seeing as he’s been on a big league roster for the better part of three seasons.
-Buster Olney notes, “You have to believe Joe Maddon will go into tonight’s game prepared to use LH Matt Moore, RH Chris Archer early in relief of Hellickson.”
-Per the Rays, Jose Lobaton was the first player in postseason history to hit a two-out, walk off home run in an elimination game.
-In his latest column, Ken Rosenthal noted, “The Rays, since the opening of the tank in 2007, had pledged a $10,000 donation for any home run one of their players hit into the 35-foot, 10,000 gallon container — $5,000 to the Florida Aquarium, which operates the tank, and $5,000 to a charity of the player’s choice. They never had to pay off. Until now. “What an interesting, wonderful game to stay solvent with,” Maddon said.”
-DRaysBay’s Ian Malinowski questioned whether Jeremy Hellickson should be getting the start in tonight’s game, saying, “A final note about giving Helly the start. If you believe that Chris Archer should be toeing the rubber instead, that’s fine. They’re both decent starting pitcher options who have failed to go deep into games lately. If Hellickson falters, even a little, I’m certain that Chris Archer, Matt Moore, and the rest of the Rays bullpen will be warmed up and ready to go. Now is not the time to pitch like a starter. Now is the time to empty the tank. It’s only a question of who gets to do so first.” It’s a relevant question, considering Helly’s unlucky pitching for most of the year.
-Since 2010 Tampa Bay has given up the DH 30 times in regular season, more than any AL club. The Yankees are second the Rays, giving up DH 25 times since 2010. No other AL team has done it more than seven times.
“It’s weird. I don’t know if I have words for how it feels. It feels like you’re a kid, running around the bases. It’s a special feeling.”—Lobaton, on how it felt to round the bases after his game winning home run.
“He’s been the most consistent [Rays starter],” Hellickson said. “Right now, you could definitely say he’s the best on our staff, and probably the best in the American League right now. David [Price] won a Cy Young, so you can’t really say [Cobb] is the best on the staff. But right now, I can’t think of anybody better.”—Jeremy Hellickson on Alex Cobb (via raysbaseball)