With four home runs and a stolen base in his first seven games, Randy Arozarena finally bloomed this week. Better late than never.
One highlight of my winter was plucking Randy Rose atop the 2nd round of a 30-team First-Year-Player-slash-Supplemental Draft.
The pre-Rona times were a mood, man. We had plenty of stuff to be indignant or cosmically fearful about, but we kinda weren’t, you know? Like on the day-to-day basis? We were mostly thinking about Randy Arozarena’s flashy spring in the fantasy factory that is Tampa Bay. Or maybe that was just me.
But Tampa’s the pivot-slash-segue here, if such a thing exists when a conversation wanders among the Rona thoughts. Tampa’s Rays have been getting a lot of winter shade the past few off-seasons because the front office there would prefer to platoon the planet. The reticence to embrace young Rays makes plenty of sense, but on the other hand, a lot of what Tampa touches turns to gold.
Arozarena will cool off soon enough because nobody could sustain his pace, but I think he’s here to stay as an impact bat for our game. He posted 16 home runs and 19 stolen bases in about 400 plate appearances between AA, AAA and MLB in 2019, slashing better than .300/.400/.500 at every level. Only the Cardinals would look at a guy like that and say no thanks. The “industry” in general loved the trade for St. Louis because we can dream on LHP Matthew Liberatore for a long time. Maybe it’ll still break their way, but Arozarena is a perfect fit in Tampa as a lefty masher who’s been improving against righties the past few seasons to the point where I think he’ll be above average against same-siders. He’s also a plus defender across the outfield. If I have to pick between Arozarena and Dylan Carlson in 2021, I’m feeling Randy enough to pluck the rose. Might even prefer him over the balance of their careers, partly because I’ve always loved the guy, partly because I just trust Tampa’s touch.
So who else do we need to monitor in Tampa?Please, blog, may I have some more?