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Friday, March 24, 2017

Rays to sign catcher Derek Norris


The Rays are signing free-agent C Derek Norris, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

The deal with Norris, which is pending a physcial, will be for one year, though the Rays could retain control of Norris in 2018 when he’d be eligible for arbitration for a final time. The total value is expected to be worth less than $2-million.

They will have to create space on the 40-man roster once the deal is finalized.

UPDATE, 4:47: The major-league deal is for $1.2-million guaranteed, plus $800,000 in performance bonuses.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 05:52 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: derek norris, rays

Stu Sternberg: Top choices for Rays new stadium are unavailable

What were the Rays’ top five choices for a new stadium — three in Tampa and two in St. Petersburg — are unavailable. That may push the team’s time line for finding a new site from August to the end of 2017.

“We had some ideas on locations that just weren’t available, that I thought would have worked perfectly, but they’re off the table,’’ Sternberg said before the Rays’ game at their spring training site in Port Charlotte. “So we’re sort of moving down our list to Nos. 2, 3 and 4.”....

As a result, Sternberg said the team doesn’t know if it will find what he has previously described as a “pin-perfect” site. Later, he clarified his stance, saying he remained optimistic the team can find a stadium solution in the bay area.

“It’s highly likely there will be a workable site,’’ he told the Tampa Bay Times. “So I’m confident.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 09:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadium

Monday, March 20, 2017

Kiermaier extension: Behind the thought process that goes into long-term deals | Tampa Bay Times

All of which allowed starter Jake Odorizzi to feel good about turning down a deal two offseasons ago that would have guaranteed him close to $30 million over six years and could have exceeded $50 million over eight.

“There’s pros and cons, and you’re committed to this for whatever it is, six, seven, eight years,” Odorizzi said. “Sometimes it boils down to, and I hate to say it, but the dollar amount. We all know the money in this game and the value of players and what your value is. And sometimes it just doesn’t match up. That’s just the circumstances.

“It’s a tough decision, really. It’s tough to say no to that large amount of money that a lot of people will never see. It’s something that if you say no to, you can’t think about it. We had talks and we didn’t agree. I completely forgot about it because you can’t think about the what-ifs of it from outing to outing, like if I’m not doing well, like, ‘Oh, man, what if I would have taken the deal and eased my mind, could I be pitching better now? Is this weighing on me?’ But for me it was easy.”

So maybe it is easy, after all.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 20, 2017 at 06:32 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin kiermaier, rays

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rays, Kevin Kiermaier nearing $50 million extension

The Rays and Kevin Kiermaier are working on a long-term deal that could keep the Gold Glove centerfielder under team control for at least six more years and be worth more than $50 million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned….

Kiermaier, 26, was to make $2.975 million this year after qualifying for arbitration for the first time as a Super Two; the new contract — with an annual average value of nearly $9 million — will start this season.

Kiermaier is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season, so this deal could keep him with the Rays for several years beyond. Based on long-term contracts the Rays have struck with other players, there are likely at least one or two team option years included.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 15, 2017 at 12:05 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin kiermaier, rays

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Could Jake Bauers salvage Rays’ trade of Wil Myers? | Tampa Bay Times

For what it’s worth, Souza is among those who think Bauers could indeed turn out to be a savior.

“He’s very impressive,” Souza said. “I actually made comments to a few people and I even said something to him that he’s going to be a really good player, especially for how old he is. He’s got a really mature personality and approach at the plate. … To be 21 and be slated to go to Triple A, that’s awesome. I’m sure the organization is very happy with that, too.”

The way these trades have played out, they need something to be happy about. And Bauers might have just the sweet swing to salvage the deals.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2017 at 09:31 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: jake bauers, rays

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Fennelly: Why Rays’ pitching is overrated … for now | Tampa Bay Times

So, for now, it’s overrated.

“Until we put together a season collectively, until we all have that year as a group and we’re playing in the playoffs,” Cobb said. “It’s about the pitching. It’s on us. I’ve always enjoyed embracing that. Because we do get a lot of credit. With that comes pressure. It’s how we deal with it.”

“Just as long as we’re ourselves, we’re fine,” Archer said. “Only time will tell. I’ve said that about the team in general. I can’t tell you whether we’re underrated or overrated until Game 162, or until I actually know where we stand.”

That’s always been the safety net: The Rays have the pitching. Nobody hits, but the Rays have pitching. World to end Friday. Rays to still have pitching Saturday.

Go prove it.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2017 at 09:21 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Friday, February 24, 2017

MLB views Las Vegas as ‘viable market,’ Rob Manfred says

So build that stadium, Oakland and St. Pete!

Major League Baseball’s softening stance on sports gambling may one day open the door to an untapped market long considered taboo: Las Vegas.

It’s all the rage lately, with the NHL’s 31st franchise set for a Sin City debut next season and the NFL on the brink of following suit. Might MLB join them? Commissioner Rob Manfred is at least open to the idea, a departure from baseball’s longstanding efforts to distance itself from the betting world.


“Las Vegas could be a viable market for us,” Manfred said during his Cactus League news conference Tuesday in Phoenix, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I don’t think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:51 AM | 89 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, expansion, las vegas, rays

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rays aren’t heartbroken about losing Wieters to Nationals | Tampa Bay Times

Dollarwise, the Rays were willing to guarantee Wieters around $6 million with a chance, if all incentives were met, to squeak past $10 million. Obviously, with an opening day payroll projected in the low $60 million range, they could have gone further, though they tend to stick to their evaluations — and rarely ever win an auction.

But the Rays had good reason to offer no more than one year — as well as a team policy against player options/opt-outs (or no-trade clauses) — which is why they could only shrug, mildly disappointed at most, that Wieters went to Washington.

And that’s because they have the All-Star catcher who Wieters, ironically, will be trying to replace in Washington, Wilson Ramos.

It was during the early December winter meetings that the Rays made the bold, and potentially brilliant, move of striking a two-year deal with Ramos.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2017 at 09:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: matt wieters, rays

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Alternate history: What wouldn’t have happened if Rays had taken Weeks over Young | Tampa Bay Times

Yes, Delmon Young and Richie Weeks were once drafted first and second overall.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2017 at 06:45 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Optimizing the Lineup | The Process Report

An interesting look at the Rays lineup. I caution against putting too much credence in simple lineup simulators. In my experience, the best lineups take into account speed and sequencing of lefty-righty batters.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 16, 2017 at 06:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rays say good communication helps three-headed baseball operations department function | Tampa Bay Times

Why not also add in a “college of coaches”?

The setup is somewhat different. In November both were named senior vice presidents, with Neander also the general manager, and both are working under baseball operations president Matt Silverman, giving the Rays, in essence, a three-headed department.

“It is a unique structure,” Silverman said. “But it works because of the uniqueness of their paths and the relationship they’ve been able to form over a decade.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2017 at 06:53 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: front office, general managers, rays

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg optimistic about stadium search, team

The plan now is to whittle a list of a half-dozen potential stadium sites down to a top “pin-perfect” choice, not looking to identify Pinellas and Hillsborough options then negotiate for a better deal.

“To say this place, this place or the other place means we don’t have any place,” he said. “We need to know which is No. 1, and that’s what we need to shoot for. The idea is to get that place and make it work good.”...

• Though there have been “some” years when they have made money, and they get in excess of $50 million annually from MLB while operating with payrolls in the $60 million to $70 million range, the net since taking over in October 2005 is in the red. “We have lost money from every point in time you can pick,” he said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 07, 2017 at 04:58 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: finances, rays, stadium

The Rays still could be a surprise contender, if everything goes right

Robothal’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2017 at 06:47 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, rays

Saturday, February 04, 2017

“Hope” the operative term as Rays prepare to report to camp | Tampa Bay Times

Wieters and Gutierrez are big bats?

One of the remaining big bats on the market — headlined by Matt Wieters, Chris Carter, Mike Napoli and, less so, Franklin Gutierrez — is willing to sign on, putting opportunity ahead of potentially more dollars elsewhere; or they make a trade, to add some needed offense after the trade of Logan Forsythe.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 04, 2017 at 09:53 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, rays

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Dodgers’ Decision To Be Intentionally Inefficient | FanGraphs Baseball

One of the best things about baseball is we’ll eventually find out the answer.

De Leon could make this deal a disaster from LA’s perspective, but if Forsythe provides enough short-term value that they can get past the Cubs in either of the next two years, they’ll comfort themselves with the warmth of a World Series appearance, and maybe a big shiny trophy. Deals that require postseason success to work out are the worst kinds of trades to make, but the best kind of trades to have to make. The Dodgers have already built a winner; with this kind of trade, they’re trying to build a champion.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 06:39 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, rays

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

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