As the Rays do their post-mortem on their season, the focus has returned once again to the team's usual anemic offense. Team captain Evan Longoria said he believes the problems were rooting in attitude in the offseason and spring training:
[suggesting players came in thinking] "things are going to be easier than they really are."
"We all need to take a look in the mirror this offseason and understand what kind of player we are and be able to come back next year and try and fill those obligations and what we're expected to do offensively individually...and I think if we can do that, then as a team we'll be better."
This coming from a player who was mostly invisible when the team needed him most -- that dreadful mid-season slump, that took them out of playoff contention. Though he played the entire season for a change, his power numbers 22hr/90rbi/.404 slugging percentage are not exactly what one expects from a team's pre-eminent hitter.
Contrast that with David Ortiz of the Sox who played in 20 less games and yet hit 35hr with 104rbi and sported a respectable .517 slugging percentage.
That Longoria accounted for nearly 25% of the Rays total offense gives definition to the word anemic. Interestingly one player on the team may be in line to create his own definition of unproductive as in The Mendoza Line. In this case we have The Molina Line for Rays catcher Jose Molina whose production was the worst in the last 100 years of Major League Baseball!
A .178 average is a good starting point, but it gets better (or worse depending on how you look at it). With 225 at bats, Molina had only two extra base hits -- tied for the worst in history. His four runs scored is the fewest ever and the .187 slugging percentage is the lowest in a century. Brutal.
Every year in spring training, when the team is struggling to put runs of the board, Maddon says the same thing -- it'll be fine once we start swinging the bats better. After all these years, when do you suppose that's gonna happen Joe?