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Tampa Bay Reaping the Consequences

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. For some, that means admitting you're an alcoholic or a heavy smoker. For people such as myself, that means admitting you're an Everybody Loves Raymond addict.

Would somebody please tell the Tampa Bay Devil Rays they have a Chuck LaMar problem? Apparently somebody needs to, because Tampa Bay's ownership group can't seem to stand up for their organization and fire the man responsible for running their investment straight into the ground since its inception in 1998.

LaMar's running of the major league ballclub has been nothing short of baffling to both traditionalist baseball thinkers and sabermetrically-inclined baseball minds such as myself. Several of his past player acquisitions - including but not limited to Jose Canseco, Wilson Alvarez, and most recently Tino Martinez - were made without any sort of thinking, reasoning, or planning from a baseball fan's point of view.

If you fail to learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it. And thanks to Chuck LaMar, the Devil Rays once again have made a deal - trading promising young infielder Antonio Perez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for former prospect and soon-to-be-waived Jason Romano on Saturday - that shows the organization's apparent commitment to only making trades that make absolutely no baseball sense at all.

In Tampa Bay's defense, this deal isn't bothersome because of the addition of Romano. At 24, he is certainly young enough to regain some of the offensive abilities he apparently began to lose after being traded from Texas to Colorado on July 31, 2002. His prospects of becoming an everyday player are remote at best, but he could still have a nice little Mendy Lopez jack-of-all-trades career for himself. In addition, he had a fine spring, leading the Dodgers with a .379 batting average and a .724 slugging percentage.

No, the move was just like Tampa because of the following reasons:

1) Jason Romano was not going to make the Dodgers' 25-man roster, but...
2) Jason Romano is out of minor-league options, so...
3) Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta would have to waive Romano to send him down to Triple-A, and...
4) Tampa Bay could have claimed Romano for nothing but a waiver fee.

In short, the Devil Rays were caught with their pants down again. If LaMar and his management team had been able to contain themselves for a few days, they probably could've had Romano's services AND held onto Perez, a young second baseman with solid if unspectacular walk rates in his bus leagues career. DePodesta, a disciple of Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, was able to take advantage of LaMar's idiocy, and landed a player who was once so highly thought of that he was a key piece of Seattle's return for Ken Griffey, Jr.. And a key piece of the Lou Piniella-for-Randy Winn swap prior to the 2003 season.

There's more to sabermetric thinking than basing your offense on on-base percentage and home runs, and pitching on strikeout rates and home runs/9 innings pitched. There's so much more to it, like using common sense when it comes to making trades. The Dodgers are now on board with the revolution, joining Oakland, San Diego, Kansas City, and Boston as front offices with obvious sabermetric influences. Where are the Devil Rays in all of this? So far behind, they can't see the leaders in front of them.

Hi everybody. My name is Chuck LaMar, and I have a lack-of-reasoning problem.

Hi Chuck.
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