Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Stuff from Jim at GCRL and a Message To The Rays!!!

I sound like a broken record, but my goodness am I behind on my trades! I feel like I should post something about Kazmir’s performance last night or maybe the Rays signing a new hitting coach, but I just don’t feel like it. Plus, what can I say about Derek Shelton? I could say “who is this guy and why would you sign him?” but that’s about it. I do not feel like he is adequate replacement for Henderson and I don’t think a guy who never played higher than low A ball is going to take us to the promised land. The playoffs? Ugh. They are not going as I had planned and I will end it with that. Hope about a trade post? This was a quick and easy trade to workout for me, those are the best. It was with Jim from the always awesome blog GCRL, which you can find right here- It was during the trade bait posts and he found a relic he wanted and offered up something that I couldn’t refuse. I was feeling lazy myself and I sent his relic out all by itself, but Jim included a dozen or so cards in the package so the key card wouldn’t be too lonely.
I’ll start with a card from 2008 Bowman. None of the Rays in this set are too fascinating to me in terms of being prospects, but I didn’t even know this guy was in the set. This is my first card of the potential catcher of the future for Tampa Bay, Jake Jeffries. Jake is still a few years away, but I got to watch this former 3rd round pick a lot in instructional league this year and he has serious potential. The card is number BDPP55. Gosh, Bowman cards have some looong numbers…He also included some Heritage Rays which are always welcome as well as my first look at Ticket To Stardumb. I haven’t read anything positive about this set and I don’t have much to add. The cards are flimsy and if you don’t put them in a sleeve and top loader immediately, the silver ink on the front of the card wipes off. Not a great job Topps. I do like the “Star for a Day” game recap on the back, though. When I saw a Pat Burrell card in here I wondered when he was a star. Of course, when he was with the Phillies…
Now, onto the main attraction! I was actually pretty surprised that Jim was willing to give this card up. He got it as a redemption and posted about it when he finally received it from Topps. It is a 2007 Topps Chrome Certified Auto of current Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura. I have had success with Aki TTM style, he is a great signer, and this graph is no different, except that he adds his number 1 on his TTMs. It is a sticker graph, but isn’t faded at all and it went right into a screw down holder that went into a team set bag and then into the Rays display case. I am confident that it will stand the test of time! The card has the rookie card emblem in the top corner, but I wonder if Aki appeared on any 2006 issues. Is this his rookie card? That would just be an added bonus. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a huge fan of the man they call Japanese Lightning. I think he is a huge part of the Rays offense and defensive attack. He missed a lot of time this year with a torn ACL and the team suffered considerably without him there. Ben Zobrist was an offensive surprise and did quite well in Aki’s absence, but Zorilla didn’t come close to providing the defense that Rays fans had been accustomed to with Aki. He played for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Central League in Japan from 1998 till 2006 when the Rays signed him. During that time he was a 6-time Gold Glove winner at third base and a huge offensive threat. In Japan he was a power hitter, in 2004 he batted .300 with 44 homers and 103 RBI. It was those kind of numbers that had MLB teams interested in him when he made himself available to be signed. The Red Sox had just signed Dice-K and paid a ridiculous amount for him, but Aki was obtained at a bargain price. The Rays signed him to a three year deal for 7.7 million. That is about 2.5 million per year. They have a club option for 2010 for 4.5 million. The rumor is that the Rays aren’t going to re-sign Aki. This would crush me as a fan and I think it would hurt the team quite a bit. Four and a half million is a ton of money, but considering the Rays paid Pat Burrell over 7 mill last year to do nothing, 4.5 is nothing. If he was a free agent, I think Aki would command even more than that on the open market. His injury cost him much of the season in 2009, but when he returned, his glove was still there. He also hit a home run in his first game back with the Rays against Detroit. Thanks so much to Jim of GCRL for everything, but especially the Aki autographed card. Here is to hoping that the Rays do the right thing and bring Aki back!!! troll out.


  1. Wicked,
    Keep your pen away from our guy!!!! We want Aki in Florida, but not in a Marlins uni.......