The Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006 season went poorly again for the team and their fans. While Tampa Bay is in the toughest division, they should expect more out of their season. 2006 was another last place finish.
The Devil Rays had some bright spots on their team. Left fielder Carl Crawford had his fifth straight good season. Crawford batted .305 with 18 home runs, 77 runs batted in, and stole 58 bases. The big question with Crawford is whether Tampa Bay will be able to keep him as he approaches free agency or if they will have to trade him. Third baseman Ty Wigginton had his best season. Wigginton hit .275 with 24 home runs and 79 runs batted in. Rocco Baldelli played during the 2006 season. He hasn’t played in the regular season since 2004. In 2006, Baldelli played in 92 games batting .302 with 16 home runs, 57 runs batted in, and 10 stolen bases.
Rookies Delmon Young and B.J. Upton both received some playing time in the majors. Young played in 30 games batting .317 with 3 home runs and 10 runs batted in. Young had an incident in the minors where he throw a bat and hit the umpire in the head. Upton played in 50 games in which he batted just. 246 with 1 home run and 10 runs batted in. Young should be a starter during the 2007 season while Upton may need more time.
During the season catcher Toby Hall and Mark Hendrickson were traded to the Dodgers. Aubrey Huff was also traded during the season. Huff was sent to Houston for minor leaguers Mitch Talbot and Ben Zobrist.
Bright spots on the pitching staff were limited. Relieve pitcher Ruddy Lugo played well in his first season in the majors. He appeared in 64 games throwing 85 innings while posting an era of 3.81. Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir lowered his era from 3.77 to 3.24. Kazmir had a 10 and 8 record while starting 24 games.
During the off season, Tampa Bay didn’t add a lot of payroll to the team. One move they did make was acquiring Akinori Iwamura from Japan. Iwamura put up good numbers in 2006. He batted .311 with 32 home runs and 77 runs batted in. They also acquired pitcher Bobby Livingston off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. Livingston put up decent numbers during his minor league career.
If you are a Devil Rays fan the season will probably end up being a disappointment in 2007. Their pitching staff still needs a lot of help to improve. Offensively Tampa bay has some good young hitters with a lot of promise. In 2007 another last place finish is likely.