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Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Monday, December 19, 2016

Is there any hope for baseball’s basement dwellers?

We know there’s hope for the teams that just finished in first place. But is there hope for the teams that just finished in last place?

We’ve spent the past week asking that question to people all over baseball, especially in the wake of this sport’s new labor deal. We exempted the Atlanta Braves, a team moving into a new ballpark. We also exempted the Minnesota Twins, a franchise that just installed what is essentially a whole new group at the top of its baseball operations department.

But that still left four fascinating last-place teams with lots of questions about where they’re going, how they’ll get there and how the new labor agreement could affect them (or not). Those teams would be the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds. You’ve heard of them, right?

So let’s buckle them all into our hot seat and hook them up to our cool new gizmo—the Hope Meter. Do they have hope on the field? Do they have hope off the field? It’s time to answer those questions, in order of impact on the franchise, for all four teams.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2016 at 09:36 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, padres, rays, reds, tanking

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rays open to rebuild but stay focused on improving current squad | Tampa Bay Times

Enough with the rebuilds already. Of course, the Rays do seem to lack the ability to put together a viable offense.

If lured by massive return, they remain open, as they feel they have to be, to make a big deal — or a couple — that could greatly impact how they look and what chances they have to win in 2017.

“I think we’re at a position where we feel like we need to at least play it forward and take a crack at it,” GM Erik Neander said Friday. “If the interest and market dictates that we go a different direction, we have to consider it and trust our evaluations. But we believe in a lot of the players we have.”

So while there could be some merit to a rebuild, especially given potential sell-high markets for some key players such as 3B Evan Longoria, they will continue their search for a couple of bullpen arms and what looks to be two position players — a big bat from the glut of DH/1B-type free agents, and a strong defensive outfielder — and their talks to trade Drew Smyly or, less likely, Alex Cobb.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 18, 2016 at 09:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rays’ dissenter: MLB did nothing to fix us getting shafted in draft | New York Post

And that new approach would be???

The one nay vote came from Tampa Bay owner Stuart Sternberg, who texted me: “Basically nothing was done to close the huge gap in access to talent. A new approach in the Rule 4 (June) draft would have proved helpful.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 14, 2016 at 03:24 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, rays

Monday, December 12, 2016

What to expect next as Rays still look to deal | Tampa Bay Times

Still trading starter, not Archer

Though they talked plenty about Archer, the Rays put sooooo much value in the combination of his skills, upside and contract (five years of control for $38.5 million) that there doesn’t seem to be any way they could feel they were getting enough for him. While teams are starting to recognize the high value the Rays see in Jake Odorizzi, that price isn’t likely to be met, either. That leaves the Rays pretty much where they were going into the meetings, most likely to trade LHP Drew Smyly or RHP Alex Cobb, albeit for a lesser return, with RHP Erasmo Ramirez next.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2016 at 07:05 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Rays agree to deal with All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos, pending physical | Tampa Bay Times

The Rays made a surprising strike to land a potential major impact player, agreeing late Tuesday on a two-year deal with All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos, who will be sidelined until midseason while recovering from major right knee surgery.

The deal, for a guaranteed $12.5 million with another $5.75 million in incentives, is pending a physical and won’t be finalized for a few days.

Ramos, 29, is not expected to play in the majors until June or July as the former National had surgery Oct. 14 to repair his anterior cruciate ligament plus medial and lateral meniscus. It was the second ACL surgery on his right knee, the first being in 2012.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 06, 2016 at 11:27 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, rays, wilson ramos

Friday, December 02, 2016

Rays pretty much strike out in MLB’s new labor deal

“Disappointed in what we’ve seen so far,” Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman said. “I’m not optimistic about the CBA in terms of helping us as a lower-revenue club.”

The Rays had hopes, as they did in the last CBA negotiations and the one before that, for some assistance.

Specifically, they have been seeking draft reform, a change in the system that would give them more picks, or higher picks, or, even better, more higher picks based on their market size and revenue totals, rather than just on win-loss record. Simpler: They don’t feel the Cubs or Red Sox or Yankees should get their pick of better talent just because one had a bad year on the field.

“Lower revenue clubs face a lot of obstacles, especially when it comes to talent acquisition,” Silverman said. “We can’t go out and spend like other clubs, so we need to find other avenues to be able to acquire that talent. We’ve looked for additional access on the amateur side, on the international side, and there haven’t been any major changes in the last 10 years. And, in fact, the revenue disparity between clubs has grown by an immense amount.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 02, 2016 at 01:50 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, collective bargaining agreement, labor, rays, revenue sharing

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Notes: The Nationals are in the mix for Chris Sale | FOX Sports

Imagine a rotation that included Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg ... and Chris Sale.

The Nationals can.

Add the Nats to the list of teams pursuing Sale, a list that likely includes the majority of teams in baseball.

Major-league sources confirmed the Nationals’ interest in Sale on Tuesday. The likelihood of a deal with the White Sox, however, is unknown.

The Nats’ edge is that they have A) a farm system that can satisfy the White Sox and B) a general manager, Mike Rizzo, who relishes making bold moves.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rays Chris Archer: “We’ve got to spend more money” to win | Tampa Bay Times

“I think in order for us to be successful, we’ve got to spend more money,’’ Archer said. “You look at the teams that were in contention this year and they were all around the $100-million payroll mark or more. And we’re in the $70 million payroll (range).

“So I think a couple added pieces, yeah, we’re going to have to spend a little bit of money. But a couple added pieces with the starting pitching that we have can change everything. We can get back to the winning franchise that we were.’‘

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2016 at 10:41 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Rays ‘open to everything’ to improve in offseason | Tampa Bay Times

“The trade market is our primary avenue to address those needs,” Silverman said. “It’s market-driven based on the teams’ interest in our players, what (teams) provide to us that meets those needs, both short term and long term.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2016 at 12:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Rays restructure front office; existing execs get new titles | Tampa Bay Times

Silverman said the responsibility sharing is “unique” but said it works in their situation. “It’s custom-fit to our histories together and to our working relationships,” he said. “Because of their decade-long working relationship, Erik and Chaim are ideal partners to team up on the daily management of our department.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2016 at 01:41 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Late Night Raymblings: There is a prospect that looks like Good Archer - DRaysBay

Consider this your pickled ginger of posts for the day.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2016 at 09:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Friday, October 07, 2016

What Happened to Derek Norris in 2016 | The Process Report

Or it could be a decline in skills?

Well that certainly feels like what Lester Freamon would call a headshot. seeing both rates fall off this much leads me to believe that Norris wasn’t just bitten by bad luck affecting his balls in play. I cannot help, but feel that some sort of injury, your guess is as good as mine as to what, led to a guy gutting through discomfort in an effort to help his team on the field. While that is nice to see, you can see the profound effect this proposed malady had on his production. Increased swinging strikes, and despite an ideal batted ball profile for a power hitter, less success within that framework screams of a guy playing through an injury.

Now there are plenty of smart folks working in San Diego’s front office, but with two years of arbitration control remaining I think Derek Norris might be an excellent guy to seek out if the cost of doing business is lower than it should be. I have no idea what the Padres would consider fair, but if it’s a fringe prospect that allows them to get their own on the field more often then this could be exactly the type of guy the Rays should be seeking to acquire. Lord willing the Rays will be able to give up little in order to fill a vacuum that even Dyson hasn’t been able to sell for close to twenty years.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2016 at 10:08 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: derek norris, padres, rays, sabermetrics

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Baseball needs to adopt the loan system

Imagine a scenario in which the Orioles are in need of a left fielder, like this season began, but where they could borrow a player much closer to the majors than Joey Rickard. Maybe a veteran being forced out of his starting position (like Desmond Jennings), or a prospect who might have had a few call-ups, but was protected on the 40-man roster when the Rule-5 draft occurred.

For example, Rays outfielder Mikie Mahtook has shown major league competence, but was blocked by Brandon Guyer and Desmond Jennings when the season began. Mahtook would have been just the sort of adept prospect the Orioles were looking for when they turned to Joey Rickard.

The Rays could have sent Mahtook to the Orioles to get a season of major league time without having to toil in the minors, while also retaining Joey Rickard in their system where he needed more time to develop. At the end of the season, the rights to Mahtook would transfer back to the Rays, but one might assume a trade or sale could be worked out if the stint is successful.

Tampa Bay keeps both contracts, both players get a chance to play at the level that best suits their development, and the Orioles get a far better player to contribute in their own playoff hunt.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2016 at 11:21 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: loan system, rays, rule 5 draft, rule changes

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rays’ Longoria answers questions with bounceback season | Tampa Bay Times

It’s better when the voices whisper but don’t yell.

“At the end of every year when the numbers don’t look like they have in the past, there are always questions of can you repeat it, are you still the player you were,” Longoria said.

“I’ve never been one to pay attention to what other people say. I don’t read a lot into what people write or listen to what people say.

“But there are always voices in your own head, and to be able to answer those questions to yourself is the most important thing.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2016 at 08:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: evan longoria, rays

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Blue Jays and Rays almost brawled over absolutely nothing

This is where things get weird. Souza heard catcher Russell Martin say something to him, and since Souza had taken some time to admire what ended up being a flyout, he thought Martin was criticizing him. But that’s not what started things. Here’s what Souza said to Topkin:

“I thought Russ was saying something about it, which would have been on me, totally,” Souza explained. “And I was saying, ‘Dude, I’m sorry, I thought I got it.’

This is the most important part of this really strange story: Steven Souza knew he’d looked at his non-homer too long, and was more than willing to accept any criticism or ribbing that Russell Martin had to offer. But Martin wasn’t criticizing Souza at all. In fact, he was actually confirming Souza’s reaction! Here’s more of what Souza said to Topkin:

There was miscommunication in that he actually said, ‘I thought you got it.’ And so I said, ‘Oh, my bad,’ and walked away. But then Troy decided to jump in and say some things that weren’t really necessary.”
This really was just a misunderstanding between two players in a loud ballpark… Until Troy Tulowitzki inserted himself in the situation, that is.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2016 at 11:02 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, rays, unwritten rules of baseball

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rays’ Archer shares thoughts from Tebow to anthem protests | Tampa Bay Times

On 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stance of not standing for the national anthem:

It’s his constitutional right, and everybody chooses different ways to get their message across. It’s a little bold for me personally, but he has the right. And it seems like he’s putting other actions behind it, too, monetarily and getting out in the community (like talking to military veterans). And that’s the most important thing for me.

Taking a knee during the national anthem, that’s one thing. We could all pick and choose something that we don’t like about America. I choose to pick the things that I do like. That’s how I look at America. Obviously there’s some dark clouds, there’s some rain in the forecast. But for me, I look at the half-full while addressing the half-empty.

You look at all the things that were written and recorded hundreds of years ago in 1776, the country was in a different place. So him saying that the anthem wasn’t relevant then as freedom because we had slaves, and we’re still struggling with it now, there’s some truth in it. But we’ve made some great progress. There’s some great opportunity for anybody born in America. There are some minds that are polluted and corrupt, but you can pick and choose the minds anywhere, versus any race, religion, creed, philosophy. You can find fault in all of it.

It’s a bold move, and I choose to kind of look at it the opposite way in representing my country in any possible way I can.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 11, 2016 at 09:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chris archer, rays

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Rays debut the first of their new stockpile of knuckleball pitchers

I love knuckleballers.

Friday night’s game between the Blue Jays and Rays was notable for two reasons. One, it marked the return of Alex Cobb, back after missing more than a season and a half due to Tommy John surgery. Second, it represented the debut of the majors’ newest knuckleballer: Eddie Gamboa.

Gamboa, a 31-year-old who converted to knuckling a few years back on a whim, had been recalled last season by the Orioles, but failed to appear in a game. That changed on Friday, obviously, as he faced four batters, walking two, allowing a hit, and striking out Michael Saunders on—what else—a knuckleball….

The Rays spent the winter stocking up on knuckleballers, even hiring former big-leaguer Charlie Haeger as a pitching coordinator. It seems as though the organization is intent on testing whether the wind-free Tropicana Field is the idyllic butterfly garden it’s made out to be.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: eddie gamboa, knuckleballers, rays

Mental, physical changes helping Rays’ Longoria rebound | Tampa Bay Times

First, Longoria, for the first time he can remember, wrote out the key statistics for each year of his career to provide a base. Then, his assignment was to jot down specific numerical goals for this season, such as how many home runs he could hit.

Falco’s theory was to give it permanence on paper as a point of reference to look at during the season and, more importantly, to get Longoria to think aggressively and aim high.

“It’s really the first time I’ve ever done it,” Longoria said. “In talking to Howard Falco … about making some mental changes and the possibility of things if you really believe it, and for me, he said to write some numbers down and you’ll be shocked at the end of the year.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:41 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: evan longoria, rays

Thursday, August 25, 2016

End of torturous rehab in sight for Rays’ Alex Cobb | Tampa Bay Times

In the 17 months since he first felt something amiss in his right arm that afternoon in Clearwater, in the 15-plus months since the Tommy John surgery to repair the tear in his elbow, in the nearly two months since he started pitching, and not particularly well, in minor-league games, Alex Cobb has remained singularly focused on getting back on the mound to start again for the Rays.

“I have a vision of when I’m going to get back, and I know it will happen,” Cobb said Wednesday. “I’ve worked too hard, I’ve done too much, I feel too good now for it not to happen.”

That return is finally in sight.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, injuries, rays

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rays prospects and minor leagues: Cobb moves closer to majors - DRaysBay

Alex Cobb took his rehab to another level in Durham’s 5-3 loss to Pawtucket. After four appearances with Charlotte, Cobb moved up a couple levels and struggled out of the gate. RBI singles from Curt Casali and Daniel Robertson spotted him a 2-0 lead, but Pawtucket evened the score in the bottom of the first. Cobb allowed solo home runs in the second and third innings and finished with four runs allowed on eight hits in three frames with four strikeouts and no walks. Nice relief work from Eddie Gamboa kept the Bulls in the game, but J.P. Arencibia’s solo home run was not enough. Matt Duffy was 0-for-4.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 11, 2016 at 09:13 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, rays

Monday, August 01, 2016

Giants acquire Rays pitcher Matt Moore | MLB.com

The Giants agreed to a trade that landed them left-hander Matt Moore just before Monday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. San Francisco parted with infielder Matt Duffy, as well as prospects Lucius Fox and Michael Santos.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 01, 2016 at 05:45 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, rays, trade deadline, trades

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rays shut down Cobb to deal with fatigue, mechanical issues | Tampa Bay Times

Their season is over; why push him?

The Rays returned Cobb from his rehab assignment and essentially stopped the 30-day clock, thus, given a mandatory seven-day wait, postponing his next start until at least Monday. Cobb left his second rehab start July 11 after one inning, so he will go at least two full weeks between games. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today at the Trop, then possibly a live batting practice next.

“He’s had some fatigue issues in his arm, and that, along with working with his mechanics, we felt this was the right time to do it,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We want to make sure he gets his full rehab and can work through the process at his pace a little bit.”

The pause can last as long as needed, with Cobb then starting a new 30-day window, pushing his targeted return back to at least mid August. After the 30 days, a player has to either be activated (and could be optioned to the minors) or returned to the DL.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2016 at 06:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, rays

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tampa Bay Rays re-sign first baseman Carlos Pena

Big time rush…to sign him!

The Tampa Bay Rays have re-signed first baseman Carlos Pena, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed.

Pena has seemed a good fit to return to the Rays throughout the off-season, as we’ve written and talked about repeatedly.

Pena played for the Rays from 2007-10, then moved to the Cubs last season. Agent Scott Boras told the Tampa Bay Times last week that Pena was open to a return to the Rays, where he had success and enjoyed the experience, and Pena told MLB Network Radio last week he was considering several options. He made $10-million last season with the Cubs.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: business, rays

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


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