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The Houston Astros and Philedelphia Phillies will begin the final quest for a World Championship on Friday night in Houston. The rest of MLB cities are waiting for the five days after the World Series to arrive when their teams can begin the work of filling holes on their rosters via trades and free agency.
Has Father Time caught up to Tom Brady? Is the Buccanneers struggle to land in the Win column more than just the quarterback play? Spoiler alert – yes.
After a slow start the Tampa Bay Lightning evened their record (3-3-0) with back to back wins in Miami and at home against the New York Islanders. They look to keep their momentum as they head out west for three late night games.
A few random thoughts about the Rays, Bucs, Lightning, and Florida College Football.
Rays Roster Update:
The Tampa Bay Rays have some immediate moves that have to be completed five days after the completion of the World Series when the offical hot stove season begins.
Corey Kluber and David Peralta will both be heading off to free agency leaving the Rays with 38 players on their 40-man roster; however, they have seven players currently on the 60-day injury list (Bradon Lowe, Nick Anderson, Shane Baz, Brendan McKay, Ryan Thompson, J.P. Feyereisen, and Andrew Kittredge). The Rays are expected to decline the 2023 option on Kevin Kiermaier and Mike Zunino is expected to hit the free agent market.
If the Rays were to activate all seven players from their 60-day IL will required an additional five roster spots. Some of the decisions are easy while some will require some decision. In the background of these initial roster moves is the setting of the 40-man roster on November 15th. The Rays have an intriguing list of prospects that need to be either traded or added to the 40-man roster to protect them from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Breaking down the roster includes several tiers of players.
Roster Decision Tiers:
It’s always interesting to see how the Rays handle players (specifically relievers) in my first tier. These players are both out of options and arbitration eligible. This group includes relievers Shawn Armstrong and JT Chargois, catcher Christian Bethancourt, first baseman Ji-Man Choi, and outfielders Roman Quinn and Harold Ramirez.
The second group of players is the out of options players (those that are not arbitration eligible). This list includes relievers Garrett Cleavinger, Javy Guerra, Brooks Raley, and Jimmy Yacobonis, infielder Isaac Parades, and outfielders Manuel Margot, Luke Raley, and Jose Siri.
The final group of players for early consideration to be moved are the players that were late additions to the 40-man roster and are not high on any services (MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, etc.). This group includes infielder Miles Mastrobuoni and outfielder Bligh Madris.
The Rays could swing a trade in the five day period between the end of the season and the setting of the roster. Last year, the Cincinnatti Reds moved catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers for minor league infielder Nick Quintana.
What to expect:
I would anticipate Tampa Bay will certainly activitate Brandon Lowe, Shane Baz, J.P. Feyereisen, and Andrew Kittrege from the 60-day IL. Pitchers Nick Anderson, Ryan Thompson, and Brendan McKay enter into the tossup column.
To make room on the 40-man roster I would expect Jimmy Yacobonis, Luke Raley, and Roman Quinn to be removed.
With Nick Andreson, Ryan Thopmson, and Brendan McKay already in the tossup column, we’ll go ahead and add several other players already on the 40-man roster in the tossup category: JT Chargois, Miles Mastruboni, and outfielder Bligh Madris.
To finalize the roster five days after the World Series I expect the Rays to option Miles Mastruboni and release Ryan Thompson.
Bucaneers, Brady Look To Respond Thursday Night:
The performance of the Tampa Bay Bucanners offense thus far this season has been atrocious. This subpar play has many talk show pundits suggesting that Tom Brady is “washed”. Maybe Father Time has a firm grip on Brady’s right arm? Personally, I don’t beleive that Brady has played particularly poor, nor do I think he is distracted. I do see a breakdown on the offensive line as well as being saddled with an ineffective running game. The loss to the Carolina Panthers was unacceptable, I don’t think any fan could put the lipstick on that pig. Good news, this is the NFL and the banged up Bucs (they’ll be missing four in their secondary) will take on the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football and can “wash” away the negativity from Sudnay’s debacle and reel the fanbase back onto the bandwagon.
Lightning Start West Coast Swing With A Loss:
The Tampa Bay Lightning opened their three game west coast swing with a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The loss was a rare loss for Tampa Bay against the Kings, a team they had beat in 10-straight meetings dating back to January 16, 2017. The Bolts (4-4-0) will look to rebound in Anaheim against the Ducks on Wednesday evening (10:00 p.m. EST) and will conclude their west coast trip in San Jose against the Sharks on Saturday afternoon (4:30 p.m. EST).
What Happened To College Football In The Sunshine State?
As NCAA Football begins play for the final weekend in October, the latest AP Poll has…..checks again…..zero teams from the Sunshine State represented. The only hint of a team from the Sunshine State being somewhat in consderation for the poll is at the very bottom in the “Others Receiving Votes” category. There you will find (1) vote for the Florida State Seminoles.
The Florida Gators (4-3, [1-3]) find themselves in fifth place of the Southeastern Conferene (SEC) East Division trailing the #1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs (7-0, [4-0]). They will have to spend the rest of the regular season looking to play spoiler and maybe get into a better bowl game. They have games with #1 Georgia this Saturday, travel to Texas A&M, host #25 South Carolina in their final home game, and finish the year at Vanderbilt and Florida State.
The UCF Golden Knights are 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) but find themselves trailing the #23 Tulane Green Wave (7-1 overall [4-0 in conference]) and the #20 Cincinatti Bearcats (6-1 [3-0]). UCF has a chance to defeat a ranked opponent at home this Saturday as they prepare to take on the #20 Cincinatti Bearcats.
The University of South Florida Bulls (1-6 [0-3]) are at the bottom of the AAC. The program has yet to make a step forward and remains the punchline of most jokes relating to poor play. The Bulls travel to Houston to take on the Cougars this Saturday at noon.
The Florida State Semioles (4-3 [2-3]) are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) trailing the undefeated #5 Clemson Tigers (8-0 [6-0]). Despite the 4-3 record, Florida State seems to be making upward strides in restoring competitiveness to the program. Florida State looks to push their way into the Top 25 and has a chance to get a decisive win at home against Georgia Tech.
The Miami Hurricanes (3-4 [1-2]) are in fifth place in the Coastal Division of the ACC behind the the #21 North Carolina Tar Heels (6-1 [3-0]). Seems like for the past decade or more the word in the summer is that the “U” is back, but every year by mid-October it’s obvious they aren’t close to being back and fans feel llike they are even further than the glory days then the year prior. Miami will travel to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
The Florida Atlantic Owls (3-5, [2-2]) and the Florida International Panthers (3-4, [1-2]) are in seventh and eigth place of Conference USA respectively. The are both trailing the UTSA Roadrunners (6-2, [4-0]). Florida Atlantic will host teh University of Alabama Birmingham this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Florida International hosts Louisiana Tech Friday night at 8:00 p.m.