Tampa Bay Rays Top 10 Shirseys

Click here to read a primer on our shirsey rankings. 
Click here to read the Rays BP Top 10 Prospects.

We don’t really know any Rays fans so we were stuck doing this entire list by ourselves. And by we, I mean me, Jordan. Jake formatted it like a month ago. That’s why it’s so late. Sorry! <3 

System Quote: “Tropicana Field sucks.”

Rays Top Ten:

  1. Yellow Matt Joyce
  2. Greg Vaughn
  3. Akinori Iwamura
  4. Rocco Baldelli 
  5. Jorge Cantu
  6. Jason Bartlett
  7. Evan Longoria
  8. Rafael Soriano
  9. Johnny Damon
  10. Scott Kazmir

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.14.07 PM1. Yellow Matt Joyce

 Size: M/L/2XL

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: eBay

 Price: $12.99 + $3.99 Shipping

 eBay Description: “Looks like a baseball jersey, wears like a tee”

 The Tools: 6 derp; awesomeness; 5 player obscurity; 8 design/color scheme; 6 price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: First, Matt Joyce played well. Then he didn’t. Then Delmon Young played instead of him. Then he took some naps.

Strengths: The only thing cooler than retro shirseys with silly color schemes are fake retro shirseys with silly color schemes. “Yes, Mom,” you’ll brag, “This is my yellow Rays shirsey.” You’ll also be able to convince your friends that the Rays were formed in 1971. Really absurd that the only player for whom this shirsey design is available is Matt Joyce.

Weaknesses: Fake time travel always pisses off the baseball gods.

Overall Future Potential: 7; elite design means huge ceiling

Realistic Role: 5; you’ll still struggle against left-handed friends

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; there are flaws in this shirsey’s game

The Year Ahead: This beautiful yellow piece of clothing will continue to fail to represent any part of Tampa Bay’s history.

Wardrobe ETA: ????

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.17.37 PM2. Greg Vaughn

 Size: L

 Current Status: Sold

 Website: eBay

 Price: $4.99 + $4.99 Shipping

 eBay Description: “Some cracking in the printed logo/numbers.  Awesome shirt at a great price!”

 The Tools: 6 derp; 5 awesomeness; 6 player obscurity; 6 design/color scheme; 6+ price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: It was the 10th anniversary of Greg Vaughn not playing professional baseball. Greg’s SON, Cory, hit .267/.346/.424 at Double-A  Binghamton. Yeah. Also, holy shit, Greg Vaughn hit 50 home runs in 1998 and hit more home runs in his career than Luis Gonzalez and other good baseball players. Good for you, Greg Vaughn.

Strengths: He’s Mo Vaughn’s cousin. Also, this was awesome: “In 1999, he became the only player in major league history to be traded after a 50-homer season when the Padres traded him to the Cincinnati Reds. Vaughn’s arrival in Cincinnati caused a bit of a controversy with club ownership and their no facial hair policy. Vaughn styled a goatee that he really didn’t want to remove. Fans urged owner Marge Schott to lift the long standing policy that had been in place since 1967 which she eventually did. On the field, he hit 45 homers and became the second player in major league history to hit 40 or more homers in consecutive seasons with two different teams.” (Wikipedia)

Weaknesses: He’s not Mo Vaughn.

Overall Future Potential: 6; still a Vaughn

Realistic Role: 5; still not Mo Vaughn, or Greg Vaughan from General Hospital

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; we’ve discussed guys named Greg on the podcast

The Year Ahead: Presumably his son will continue to play minor league baseball while he continues to not be eligible for the Hall of Fame anymore :(

Wardrobe ETA: 1998

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 12.57.37 PM3. Akinori Iwamura

 Size: S

 Current Status: Sold

 Website: eBay

 Price: $7.99


 The Tools: 6+ derp; 5 awesomeness; 6+ player obscurity; 6 design/color scheme; 6+ price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: Iwamura is back in Japan playing baseball much more successfully than he ever did in Tampa Bay. At least, I assume he is. This is funny: “Iwamura signed with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on November 16, 2010. He was expected to bat in the cleanup position for his new team; however, he experienced injures and had a bad slump during his 2 years with the Golden Eagles. He was released from the Eagles during the 2012 off-season.” (Wikipedia). I love that he was in a bad slump for two years. Also, HE WAS GOING TO HIT CLEANUP.

Strengths: Japanese shirseys are always cool, especially when that player didn’t end up doing much in the majors. It’s the Nishioka Factor. His one MLB highlight was leading the league in FIELDING PERCENTAGE in 2007.

Weaknesses: You’re still wearing a green Devil Rays Akinori Iwamura shirsey. Iwamura is also older than Erik Bedard. Not sure when that happened.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; it’s pretty awesome, especially considering Tampa Bay’s lack of Japanese imports during their short existence.

Realistic Role: High 5; this is definitely worth a shirsey roster spot, but you might not wear it as often as you might think

Risk Factor/Injury History: High; he’s really good friends with Daisuke Matsuzaka. Seriously.

The Year Ahead: He’s with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows now. Watch out for him to challenge Wladimir Balentien’s home run title in 2014.

Wardrobe ETA: 2007

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.25.24 PM4. Rocco Baldelli 

 Size: Youth L

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: eBay

 Price: $18.99

 eBay Description: “Width lying flat armpit to armpit measures 18″!”

 The Tools: 6 derp; 6 awesomeness; 5+ player obscurity; 6 design/color scheme; 4+ price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: The pride of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Baldelli spent his year fishing, probably. He is also still a “special advisor” in the Rays organization.

Strengths: Scored a 1,300 on his SAT, which would be an awful score now, but at the time was apparently really good. Smart dude. He almost went to Princeton. Instead, he ended up in Princeton. He was basically a three-win player for the first three years of his career.

Weaknesses: “After a promising beginning to his baseball career, a mysterious metabolic/muscular disorder would lead to numerous injuries and force Baldelli to retire as a player at age 29.” :(

Overall Future Potential: 6; this is a nice shirsey to honor Baldelli but it also can make a lot of sad people even sadder

Realistic Role: 5; worth keeping on the 40-man, but eventually you realize it won’t be worth wearing anymore

Risk Factor/Injury History: Extreme; this shirsey could break down at any moment

The Year Ahead: Rocco and his two brothers, Nicholas and Dante, will be opening up “Baldelli’s”, a sports bar in some New England town, probably.[citation needed]

Wardrobe ETA: 2003

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.28.41 PM5. Jorge Cantu

Size: Youth L

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: eBay

 Price: $11.99

 eBay Description: “Cantú is an infielder in Major League Baseball who plays for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He made his major league debut with the Devil Rays in the 2004 season, hitting a .301 batting average with two home runs and 17 runs batted in from 50 games played. In 2005, due to the retirement of second baseman Roberto Alomar, Cantú was forced into that position. He was named the Devil Rays Most Valuable Player by Tampa Bay sportswriters, after hitting .289 with 28 home runs, 117 RBI, 40 doubles, and 171 hits in 150 games…”

 The Tools: 6 derp; 5 awesomeness; 6 player obscurity; 6 design/color scheme; 6 price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: Last month, Cantu signed with the Doosan Bears, a Seoul-based Korean team. He is the first overseas player to sign with the Bears since 2011. I love the first line of this: “The Doosan Bears announced on Monday they’ve acquired former Major League Baseball (MLB) slugger Jorge Cantu.” Slugger.

Strengths: The dude had his two most successful years for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Florida Marlins. That takes some kind of courage. “In 2005, Cantú began the season expecting to play a utilityman role, but due to the retirement of second baseman Roberto Alomar during spring training, he became the full-time second baseman. He showcased his talents, having a breakout year, and was named the Devil Rays Most Valuable Player by Tampa Bay sportswriters.” (Wikipedia). YEAH HE WAS.

Weaknesses: He’s been pretty awful at professional baseball for about three years now and it doesn’t look like that’s about to change any time soon. However, I’d be willing to bet he hits AT LEAST 83 home runs for the Bears this upcoming season.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; Cantu was definitely likable during his time in Tampa Bay, but he certainly wasn’t around for any of their eventual success. You can also wear this in Korea now and be pretty awesome.

Realistic Role: 5; you wouldn’t mind having this shirsey sitting in Triple-A in case of injuries.

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; hasn’t been a healthy shirsey for a while

The Year Ahead: Like I said, he’ll probably slug .800 in Korea and good for Jorge Cantu. If he could drive in 117 RBI in 2005, he can unquestionably drive in 389 RBI in 2014. I think that’s how conversion rates work.

Wardrobe ETA: 2005

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.33.00 PM6. Jason Bartlett

 Size: 2XL

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: eBay

 Price:  $4.99 + $3.99 Shipping

 eBay Description: “Same color jerseys the Rays wear at home on Sunday’s. Shirt is in great condition, only worn a few times.”

 The Tools: 5+ derp; 6+ awesomeness; 5+ player obscurity; 6+ design/color scheme; 6+ price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: Bartlett didn’t play at all, but signed a minor league deal with Minnesota in November. Reunited and it feels so good. Everyone is looking forward to the intense battle for starting shortstop between Bartlett and Florimon. Prediction: Florimon is da winna mon.

Strengths: His two sons are named Jayden and Jaggers and he’s half Filipino. Ozzie Guillen thinks he’s a predatory fish. Or something. “When on the Twins, Bartlett was one of four players known for speed and small ball, nicknamed “The Piranhas” by Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén. The Twins embraced the term during the 2006 season. The other Piranhas were Jason Tyner, Luis Castillo, and Nick Punto.” Even more importantly, this was a thing that happened: “On October 22, 2008, Bartlett stole a base in the 5th inning of Game 1 of the World Series, earning America a free taco from Taco Bell.” FREE TACOS.

Weaknesses: He’s basically sucked every year besides 2009. In 2007, he led all major league shortstops in errors. How many Jason Bartlett Rays fans wear a 2XL? This shirsey will remind all 38 Rays fans of that time they didn’t win the World Series in 2008.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; the baby blue is always awesome, but it’s still Jason Bartlett

Realistic Role: High 4; utility shirsey. Ideally it would have to be shrunk a few times.

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; it is what it is what it is what it is what it is

The Year Ahead: I very much doubt he makes the Twins roster out of Spring Training but if he does, he will remind the fans that HE WAS PART OF THE TRADE TO GET DELMON YOUNG TO MINNESOTA.

Wardrobe ETA: 2008

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.34.16 PM7. Evan Longoria

 Size: M

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: eBay

 Price: $12.99 + $3.99 Shipping

 eBay Description: “sports screen prints of your favorite player’s name and number, plus team logo on chest.”

 The Tools: 4 derp; 7 awesomeness; 3 player obscurity; 6+ design/color scheme; 5+ price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: Longoria got 600+ plate appearances for the first time since 2010 and continued to not be Eva Longoria (as far as we know). You go, Evan Longoria. You go.

Strengths: He’s awesome, and this shirsey is a remarkable combination of the modern baby blue and the old brutal Tampa Bay logo. Hard to comprehend why anyone thought this was a good idea but it actually looks pretty cool. Jake already bought one, but there are more available.

Weaknesses: This is just wrong. Imagine the Marlins trying to blend their new rainbow disasters with the teal from before. Plus-plus strangeness, no doubt.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; this is still gonna be a remarkably valuable shirsey for a very long time because Evan Longoria will be around for a very long time. Also, the farther away they get from the Devil Rays, the weirder this shirsey gets.

Realistic Role: 6; it might look ridiculous, but you’re gonna want this in your Opening Day shirsey lineup.

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; Longoria seems to struggle to stay healthy on the field. Luckily, this is a shirsey. Shirseys don’t have hamstrings.

The Year Ahead: This shirsey should continue to be a confusing display of Tampa Bay fanhood for any Longoria fan.

Wardrobe ETA: 2003/2011

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.36.04 PM8. Rafael Soriano

 Size: L

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: Available for purchase

 Price: $5.00 + $2.85 shipping

 eBay Description: “MAJESTIC T SHIRT. 29 SORIANO. The shirt is in excellent condition.”

The Tools: 4 derp; 6 awesomeness; 5 player obscurity; 6+ design/color scheme; 6+ price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: Soriano spent his first season with the Washington Bryce Harper-Is-The-Greatest-Player-of-all-Times and SAVED 43 games, whatever the hell that means. Does anyone know what a save is?

Strengths: Closer shirseys are always cool because the pitcher is either super awesome or super shitty but has THE CLOSER MENTALITY. Soriano is pretty solid, and the fact that this is a Rays shirsey helps a lot. Soriano spent one season in Tampa Bay and finished 8th in AL Cy Young voting. He was fantastic. Then he went to New York because money. Now he’s with Washington because money. Money.

Weaknesses: Most Rays fans have already forgotten about Soriano, as Fernando Rodney has taken over as the resident Dominican closer who likes to walk at least two batters before striking out the side.

Overall Future Potential: 5; solid closer shirsey with plus design

Realistic Role: 5; solid closer shirsey with plus design

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; based on his recent track record of liking large amounts of money, Soriano won’t be back in Tampa Bay any time soon.

The Year Ahead: Soriano will presumably continue saving the Natinals from whatever it is they need saving from.

Wardrobe ETA: 2010

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.37.13 PM9. Johnny Damon

Size: Youth L

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: eBay

 Price: $19.99

 eBay Description: “This is a previously-owned, youth-large (YL), blue T-shirt with “Rays” printed on the front and “Damon 22″ printed on the back. It measures approximately 18 inches (from underarm seam to underarm seam) and is in great condition (Majestic brand, 100% cotton). Johnny Damon is currently an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals. From 2000-2008, he was third among active major leaguers in runs (589), and 7th in hits (912) and stolen bases (153).”

 The Tools: 6 derp; 5 awesomeness; 4 player obscurity; 6 design/color scheme; 4 price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: Well according to the eBay description, Damon played for KC this year. He didn’t do too well, mostly because he didn’t play a single game for the Royals, despite currently playing for them.

Strengths: Not being a Royals shirsey; 22 is a cool number; an unbelievable number of people seem to really like Johnny Damon for some reason; he is one of the original #traders.

Weaknesses: Can we just talk about how the description of this shirsey says he CURRENTLY plays for the Royals, the team he played for ELEVEN YEARS after leaving Kansas City. None of this makes sense. This eBayer is stuck in multiple times at once.

Overall Future Potential: 5; if Matt Damon and Eva Longoria ever get together, this could be a cool shirsey for any couple.

Realistic Role: 4; otherwise, no. This is an emergency shirsey.

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; Damon isn’t playing baseball again. At least, I hope not. Regardless, this shirsey’s value should remain unaffected for at least 17 and a half years.

The Year Ahead: Let’s just hope the Mariners don’t sign him. Pleas.e

Wardrobe ETA: 2006

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.37.46 PM10. Scott Kazmir

Size: XXL

 Current Status: Available for purchase

 Website: eBay

 Price: $3.99

 eBay Description: “Has been worn a few times, but still in good shape. Kazmir had a great career in Tampa, but is still trying to get on the right track.”

The Tools: 6 derp; 6 awesomeness; 5 player obscurity; 6 design/color scheme; 7+ price

What Happened to the Player in 2013: In 2012, Kazmir went 3-6 with a 5.34 ERA for the SUGAR LAND SKEETERS. In 2013, Kazmir posted 4.04 ERA for the Cleveland Indians. In December, Kazmir signed a $24 million contract with Oakland. Good for Scott Kazmir. I don’t know what happened but if you’re left-handed and can throw baseballs faster than the speed limit, you’ve always got a chance.

Strengths: Everyone remembers Scott Kazmir reasonably fondly, its XXL size could help this shirsey double as Snuggie.

Weaknesses: He was significantly better on the Devil Rays than he was on the Rays.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; valuable shirsey at the back end of your shirsey rotation

Realistic Role: 5; a usable shirsey from the left side of your drawer

Risk Factor/Injury History: High: Your left arm’s ability to help you in everyday life will vary wildly when wearing this shirsey.

The Year Ahead: Oakland fans will watch Kazmir pitch and pray every inning he’s out there that his arm doesn’t spontaneously combust and harm Yoenis Cespedes in any way.

Wardrobe ETA: 2007

System Overview:

The Rays are notorious for signing players to one-year deals that no one else thinks makes sense. This trend should manifest itself in the form of a lot of shirsey talent in the near future (whenever James Loney decides to suck again). Their current system is a solid crop that includes veterans like Cantu and Kazmir, and experiments like Iwamura and Damon. The Longoria mystery design shirsey has a very high ceiling and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops over the next few years. The piss yellow Matt Joyce at the top is hard to ignore; we’ll never understand why it’s that color and we don’t care. It’s fantastic(ally brutal to look at). Baldelli brings a necessary vibe of sadness to the system, but it is well balanced with the jubilant nature of the exquisite Greg Vaughn shirsey. That is a sentence that I just wrote.

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