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Monday, April 15, 2019

Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows are on a must-see tear

The Tampa Bay Rays are so fascinating at this point you could look up and down their roster and struggle to find a player who isn’t intriguing in some way, shape or form.

From the reigning Cy Young winner in Blake Snell to Jose Alvarado’s otherworldly fastball movement to Tommy Pham’s penchant for speaking his mind, the American League East leaders have no shortage of storylines. But you don’t just get off to an 12-4 start on narratives alone. That’s where the duo of outfielder Austin Meadows and starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow come in.

Once the top prospects in the Pirates’ pipeline, the 24-year-old Meadows and 25-year-old Glasnow are showing flashes of true stardom in Tampa Bay after being acquired in a deal that sent then-Rays’ ace Chris Archer to Pittsburgh at the 2018 trade deadline.


A reminder that it isn’t just eccentric pitcher usage that has made the Rays rise to the position they’re in today.

 

QLE Posted: April 15, 2019 at 07:44 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: austin meadows, rays, tyler glasnow

Monday, April 08, 2019

Rays reliever Kolarek plays 1B in 3-0 win over Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash keeps getting the most from his pitching staff.

Cash moved reliever Adam Kolarek from the mound to first base and back to the mound in a piece of matchup strategy Sunday, and the Rays wound up with a 3-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Yandy Diaz homered on the second pitch of the game and Yonny Chirinos (2-0) threw five scoreless innings. The Rays have opened the season with three straight series wins for the first time in franchise history.

Cash kept things in constant motion throughout the game, using four outfielders at times and constantly shifting his infielders. But his boldest move came in the seventh.

Tampa Bay keeps on innovating.

QLE Posted: April 08, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: adam kolarek, pitchers in the field, rays

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Tommy Pham sets Rays record, reaches base in 39th consecutive game

Rays outfielder Tommy Pham set a new Rays record on Wednesday afternoon with a first-inning single against the Rockies. It marked his 39th consecutive game reaching base, dating back to last season. According to Baseball Reference, that broke a tie with Johnny Damon for the Rays record. Damon reached base in 38 consecutive games between May 3 and June 14, 2011.

Pham’s streak began on August 21 last year. Entering Wednesday’s action, he was batting .366/.462/.641 for the duration of the streak with seven home runs, 23 RBI, and eight stolen bases across 142 at-bats. Pham went 2-for-4 in the Rays’ 1-0, 11-inning loss to the Rockies.

 

 

QLE Posted: April 04, 2019 at 05:40 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, streaks, tommy pham

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Chaim Bloom’s Diamond Life

Kurt Posted: April 02, 2019 at 03:13 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Rays considering tinting roof to track fly balls

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays are exploring the possibility of using blue lights to tint the roof of Tropicana Field in hopes of giving the domed the stadium a different look as well as making it easier for players to track flyballs during games.

The lights are part of a new LED lighting system installed throughout the team’s home park. Plans to use them this year are pending approval by Major League Baseball, which is not expected to make a decision before the Rays open the season Thursday against the Houston Astros.

The club began testing the blue lights after breaking spring training camp in Port Charlotte this week, with players offering mixed reviews about how effective they might be in helping them track fly balls.

What, not lime green?

 

QLE Posted: March 28, 2019 at 05:49 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadiums

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Rays minor league pitcher will live in school bus this season to save money

Minor league baseball players don’t always make a ton of money.

And with them on the road for a large portion of the season, spending whatever money they do make on rent may seem like a waste.

So, pitcher Jack Labosky and his girlfriend decided to think outside of the box.

Labosky and his girlfriend, Madi Hiatt, are planning to live out of a 1999 Blue Bird International school bus during the 2019 season — which they purchased using his $3,000 signing bonus.

Meanwhile, a bunch of children are wondering why their bus to school hasn’t arrived yet.

QLE Posted: March 24, 2019 at 07:05 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: jack labosky, minor leaguers, rays, school bus

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Rays lock down Snell with five-year, $50 million deal

The Rays agreed to a five-year, $50 million deal with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, the club announced Thursday. The deal extends through the 2023 season and the left-hander could make an additional $2 million in incentives.

sotapop Posted: March 21, 2019 at 06:25 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blake snell, rays

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The openers experiment isn’t really an experiment anymore for Tampa Bay

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — They weren’t trying to change the whole game, just their own. They were secure enough to try, humble enough to allow that the whole thing could be very, very flammable. They let everyone laugh or grouse or turn away, whatever. In the end, as it happened, most were also taking notes.

So the Tampa Bay Rays won 90 games and had sparked, if not a movement exactly, certainly an inclination to reconsider the best way — or still another way — to 27 outs. That it didn’t look quite right, they’d leave others to judge, many of whom won fewer than 90 games. So.

What might’ve appeared to be some newfangled funk was, actually, the oldest of old school, which is trying to win a baseball game. That means standing where you think they’re going to hit it. That means using the pitcher best qualified in the moment. Sometimes risking something for the greater good. Winning, and not being afraid to look a little goofy doing it, if that’s what comes.

So, how long before Manfred becomes involved?

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:13 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: opener, rays

Friday, March 15, 2019

Rays not worried about MLB rule changes: ‘We have a lot of pitchers’

Limit pitching staffs to a max of 11 pitchers. By doing that, the three batter minimum wouldn’t be needed.

One, going into effect for 2020, would limit their matchup maneuvering by requiring pitchers to face a minimum of three batters (or to finish an inning).
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Another reduces their flexibility in shuttling fresh arms to the bullpen by extending the time pitchers optioned to the minors (or placed on the injured list) have to stay from a minimum of 10 days to 15, although it could still be tweaked.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2019 at 08:29 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, rule changes

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Kevin Kiermaier will never change, and that’s a good thing

All told, he’s lost 170 games to the disabled list the past three years.

And, in between, he’s been one of the most dynamic players in the game.

“He’s the best in centerfield, and I don’t think it’s close,” said Rays pitcher Blake Snell. “I mean, Jackie Bradley Jr. is unreal. (Kevin) Pillar is unreal. But to me, there is no one like KK. Now, with how hard he plays, he’s going to get hurt. There’s no way around that. He really will run through a wall for you. But that’s what got him here, and it’s what will keep him here.”

Kiermaier is, however, at a bit of a crossroads in his career. Later this week will be the two-year anniversary of his six-year, $53.5 million contract that remains the second-largest in Rays history.

And despite all the time he’s missed, the data-driven website Fangraphs.com says Kiermaier is still outperforming his growing salary. And yet, the clock is beginning to tick. He will be 29 next month, and still is trying to make his mark as a complete player.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:58 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin kiermaier, rays

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Why Cy Young winner Blake Snell won’t get much of a raise from the Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE — So much was right about Blake Snell winning the Cy Young award for his dazzling 2018 breakout season.

And here’s one thing that’s very wrong:

Snell’s job done spectacularly well for the Rays is not going to get him much of a raise.

And they wonder why no one wants to remain on the team….

 

QLE Posted: March 09, 2019 at 03:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blake snell, dollah dollah bills, y'all, greed, rays

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The wonder of Wander, who is on the Rays’ fast track

Will Franco be the next?

Since 2000, just 11 players have made their major league debuts before their 20th birthday, including former Rays outfielder B.J. Upton. Others on the list Felix Hernandez (Mariners), Bryce Harper (Nationals), Jurickson Profar (Rangers), Juan Soto (Nationals), Julio Urias (Dodgers), Dyland Bundy (Orioles), Wilson Betemit (Braves), Mike Trout (Angels), Justin Upton (Diamondbacks), Jose Reyes (Mets). Source: Baseball Reference. [Times files]

Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2019 at 06:01 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, wander franco

Friday, March 01, 2019

Are Chris Archer and Rick Kriseman in a Twitter beef?

Former Rays pitcher Chris Archer and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman are in something of a Twitter beef.

It all started with comments Archer, now with the Pirates, made to Spectrum Sports about there not being enough fans in the St. Petersburg area to support the team and his opinion that as a result the team could end up moving.

Then the Mayor made note of Archer’s record, specifically his 19-loss season in 2016.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 01, 2019 at 06:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Friday, February 22, 2019

Montreal investment group seeks share of the Rays, want games in Olympic Stadium

Stephen Bronfman, son of former Expos owner Charles Bronfman, has been seeking to bring baseball back to Montreal for many years now, and according to French-speaking newspaper La Presse, the next step in realizing that dream could involve the Tampa Bay Rays.

The article, written by three authors at La Presse and citing ‘a number of sources,’ says Bronfman’s investment group is seeking a future where the Rays play a portion of their home games in Montreal at Olympic Stadium, the former home of the Expos.

In order to facilitate the process, the group of Quebec investors would like to become a minority shareholder of the Tampa Bay Rays.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2019 at 05:33 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: montreal, rays

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Rays gave up a lot to get Yandy Diaz. He risked a lot more to get here.

It will be interesting to see what Diaz does with his opportunity.

Rays officials saw the potential for Diaz to be an impactful addition to their lineup — an “absolute beast” in the words of one — after incorporating some small adjustments they expect to produce more home runs. (More being relative as he’s hit only one in 265 big-league at-bats.)

And they paid heavily, giving up not only promising first baseman Jake Bauers but also $5 million (more than they’ll pay all but two players) to get Diaz in a three-team deal.

“We sought him,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re excited to finally have him in here.’’

The Rays are asking Diaz to work primarily at first base after spending most of his previous time at third, but otherwise are banking on him being comfortable and relaxed knowing he has a spot on the team.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 06:57 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, yandy diaz

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Stuart Sternberg: I should have been more aggressive in Rays stadium talks with Tampa

Next time hostages will be taken.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2019 at 07:01 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadium deals

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Commissioner says MLB is open to new Rays stadium in St. Petersburg

The Brinks truck wasn’t big enough.

Manfred said he was “disappointed” the Rays and Tampa leaders couldn’t work out a deal for the Ybor site by the Dec. 31 expiration of the “free look” agreement. He sent a strongly worded letter to Hillsborough officials pointing out how their offer was incomplete in advance of the Rays announcing in December that they were ending talks.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2019 at 07:35 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadium financing

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Pham goes to arbitration; Devenski avoids hearing

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Outfielder Tommy Pham asked an arbitration panel for a raise from $570,100 to $4.1 million, and the Tampa Bay Rays argued for $3.5 million.

Arbitrators Margaret Brogan, Andrew Strongin and Gil Vernon are expected to decide the case Tuesday, a day after hearing arguments.

Pham hit .275 with 21 homers and 63 RBIs for St. Louis and Tampa Bay, which acquired him on July 31. He batted .343 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 39 games for the Rays.

Given Pham’s previous commentary on the Rays, I’d have expected them to be fighting over an amount of money larger than $600,000.

QLE Posted: February 05, 2019 at 04:43 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, rays, tommy pham

Friday, January 25, 2019

Tropicana Field to become cashless this season

Kevin Cash is no longer accepted.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that Tropicana Field will be the first major league ballpark to stop accepting cash. Yes, for real. Everything — beer, hot dogs, nachos, foam fingers and the rest — must be either (a) purchased with a credit card; or (b) with a Rays gift card which one can obtain for cash.

This is gonna cause a lot more controversy than you might think.

It’s still a small handful of places, but a growing number of businesses, often coffee shops or upmarket fast casual restaurants, have adopted cashless policies, refusing to accept paper currency and requiring customers to pay with debit or credit cards. The rationale: thanks to chip and tap and smartphone technology it’s become quicker and easier to to simply take cards or electronic payment, reducing customer wait time and the hassle of making change, counting cash drawers down at the end of the day, etc.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 25, 2019 at 02:14 PM | 398 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

New Mariners CF Mallex Smith throws shade at Rays’ poor attendance

The Mariners introduced new center fielder Mallex Smith to the media Thursday and someone asked Smith what he was most excited about in going to Seattle.

“I’m going to enjoy fans in the stands,” a smiling Smith joked. “So that’ll be, that’s a big one for me. I’m gonna be excited about that. I’m looking forward to seeing those seats full.”

It was a light-hearted jab at his former team, the Rays. Smith, who was acquired from Tampa Bay in a five-player trade in November, spent two seasons playing in front of cavernous stretches of empty seats in Tropicana Field. The Rays ranked last in the majors in attendance and were 29th of 30 teams last season, averaging 14,964 fans during Mallex’s time there.

Wondering if this will backfire somehow….

 

QLE Posted: January 25, 2019 at 03:51 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: mallex smith, mariners, rays

Friday, January 04, 2019

Rays reducing seating capacity at Tropicana Field to create more ‘intimate’ experience

Seating capacity at Tropicana Field will be reduced to about 25,000 to 26,000 under a renovation plan aimed at improving fans’ experience.

The team on Friday announced plans to create a more “intimate” atmosphere, including the creation of the Left Field Ledge in the lower level featuring premium seating for small groups, and the elimination of the upper-deck 300 level.

The capacity at the Trop previously was 31,042.

“These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field,” Rays President Matt Silverman said in a news release. “Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2019 at 05:34 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Tommy Pham Says The Rays Have “Really No Fan Base At All”

Talks with area officials on a potential new stadium fell apart earlier this month, so the Rays are back in their generation-long limbo. Perhaps matters in Oakland are more pressing for MLB, but eventually, something’s going to have to give here—and as Rays outfielder Tommy Pham so brutally but accurately put it, it’s likely going to have to be “a new ballpark, or maybe a new city.”

Pham, who was acquired from the Cardinals at the trade deadline and went on to post career-best numbers with the Rays, is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and did an interview with MLB Network radio in which he compared the crowds in St. Louis and St. Pete, and it’s not pretty.

Shortly after these statements, Pham had announcements to make about water being wet and bears doing unspeakable things in the woods.

QLE Posted: December 29, 2018 at 08:00 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, rays, tommy pham

Friday, December 21, 2018

Athletics acquire Jurickson Profar from Rangers in three-team trade with Rays

All three teams have announced the trade. Here are the details:

Athletics get: IF Jurickson Profar
Rangers get: LHP Kyle Bird, LHP Brock Burke, RHP Yoel Espinal, IF Eli White, international bonus money
Rays get: RHP Emilio Pagan, RHP Rollie Lacy, Competitive Balance Round A draft pick

Bored Posted: December 21, 2018 at 04:36 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, rangers, rays, trades

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Athletic: What It’s Like to Cover an Indians Three Team Trade on a Flight with the Front Office and No WIFI

“When the flight attendant voiced that passengers could use their electronics, I frantically retrieved my laptop and called up the Wi-Fi page on my phone. Antonetti and Chernoff both laughed. Their work was complete, but mine was just beginning.

One problem: Southwest Wi-Fi wouldn’t work. Every click of the “Submit Payment” button segued into a 504 Gateway Timeout page. I won’t be shocked if charges adding up to $800 appear on my credit card statement.

Antonetti did relay the final details of the deal:

Indians receive: Carlos Santana, Jake Bauers, cash
Mariners receive: Edwin Encarnacion, compensatory pick, cash
Rays receive: Yandy Díaz, Cole Sulser

Knowing the information was helpful. Not being able to do anything with the information was painful.”

Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: December 14, 2018 at 04:04 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: front office, indians, mariners, rays

Winter Meetings Recap: Bryce Harper Lays Low, MLB Can’t Promote and the Rays Make a Splash

LAS VEGAS — It was only two years ago that people immediately declared the White Sox the “winners” of the winter meetings because they acquired prospects with heavy buzz, including Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Moncado is a .234 hitter who has fanned in 34 percent of his plate appearances, Kopech blew out his elbow, Giolito posted a 6.13 ERA this year, Lopez has a 4.21 ERA in 51 career games, and the White Sox have lost 195 games and 130,000 paid customers in the two seasons since.

Nobody’s giving up on them, but maybe we should give up on the whole “winners and losers” thing as instant judgment of the winter meetings. This time, as baseball is leaving Las Vegas after yet another hum-drum winter meetings, let’s try this: here’s what we learned from these meetings:

A summary account of do-tos involving the Winter Meetings, with quite a bit to debate and ponder.


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