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A look at the Rays spring roster

A look at the Rays 62-man spring roster; non-roster invitees marked with an x:

Pitchers (32)
35 Matt Andriese
22 Chris Archer
59 Andrew Bellatti
26 Brad Boxberger
31 Xavier Cedeno (L)
53 Alex Cobb
37 Alex Colome
51 x-Dana Eveland (L)
34 Jacob Faria
43 Danny Farquhar
73 x-Eddie Gamboa
82 x-Ryan Garton
54 Steve Geltz
56 Taylor Guerrieri
72 x-Jhan Marinez
75 x-Parker Markel
81 x-Justin Marks (L)
80 x-Kyle McPherson
55 Matt Moore (L)
23 Jake Odorizzi
30 Erasmo Ramirez
70 x-Adam Reifer
45 Enny Romero (L)
76 x-Mark Sappington
78 x-Jamie Schultz
33 Drew Smyly (L)
50 Blake Snell (L)
79 x-Tyler Sturdevant
49 x-Jonny Venters (L)
71 x-Neil Wagner
47 Chase Whitley
74 x-Adam Wilk (L)

Catchers (6)
19 Curt Casali
24 Hank Conger
64 x-Jake DePew
46 Luke Maile
14 Justin O'Conner
44 Rene Rivera

Infielders (14)
1  Tim Beckham
29 Ryan Brett
11 Logan Forsythe
2  Nick Franklin
61 x-Patrick Leonard
21 James Loney
3  Evan Longoria
13 Brad Miller
7  Logan Morrison
28 Steve Pearce
62 x-Juniel Querecuto
60 x-Daniel Robertson
63 x-Kyle Roller
36 Richie Shaffer

Outfielders (10)

68 x-Jaff Decker
10 Corey Dickerson
85 x-Johnny Field
5  Brandon Guyer
8  Desmond Jennings
39 Kevin Kiermaier
27 Mikie Mahtook
38 Taylor Motter
20 Steven Souza Jr.
67 x-Dayron Varona

Staff

16 Kevin Cash, manager
15 Rocco Baldelli, 1B coach
41 Stan Boroski, bullpen coach
6  Tom Foley, bench coach
48 Jim Hickey (pitching coach)
25 Charlie Montoyo (3B coach)
4  Jamie Nelson (coach)
17 Derek Shelton (hitting coach)

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A wild pitch from Montreal: Split the Rays with Tampa Bay

An article in the French language newspaper La Presse proposes the idea of the Rays playing half their home games in Canada and half in the Tampa Bay area.

AP photo; WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

An article in the French language newspaper La Presse proposes the idea of the Rays playing half their home games in Canada and half in the Tampa Bay area.

If Montreal interests can't get the Rays to relocate, would they want them as part-time guests?

A creative, if not desperate, idea to bring baseball back to Montreal was floated today in the the French language newspaper La Presse — buying the Rays and having them play half their home games in Canada and half in the Tampa Bay area.

The idea of "joint ownership" and "shared custody" is said to be circulating "behind the scenes'' among Montreal baseball interests, François Cardinal writes.

The article includes discussion of the benefits of such a plan, minimizing costs for the prospective Montreal owners ($300-million rather than $600-million) and allowing for maximization of TV revenues with two seperate contracts.

But Cardinal also acknowledges what would be one of the major issues, that the costs of building a new stadium would be offset by only half the usual revenue from a full schedule of games.

Also, he admits, there has been no discussion with the Rays or with Major League Baseball. Also worth noting, we can add, is that the Players Association would have big concerns about that type of arrangement. …

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Rays' promotions feature Kiermaier, Archer

The full promo schedule.

Rays

The full promo schedule.

The Rays released their promo schedule today featuring three Kevin Kiermaier giveaways, including a Platinum Glove Bobblehead, and two for ace Chris Archer. 

Single game tickets go on sale Feb. 19 on raysbaseball.com, and Feb. 20 at the Trop box office and Tampa store.

 

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Rays present keys to Habitat for Humanity home they helped build

Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Rays

Rays manager Kevin Cash presents the keys to a new Habitat for Humanity home to Lakeba Wallace and her daughter on Thursday, with St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, team president Brian Auld and other club officials and mascot Raymond looking on.

The Rays not only provided funding for the south St. Petersburg house, but helped build it during the five-week process, with 180 team volunteers logging more than 1,000 construction hours, providing the bulk of the work.  Land for the home was donated by Bank of America.

"Our mission is to energize our community through the magic of Rays baseball, and this project has been a remarkable testament to that," Auld said. "I'm proud of the efforts of our staff members who worked alongside Lakeba and her family. We cannot be any more excited to hand over the keys."

Per a team release, this was was first time in the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County's 30-year history that a corporate funding partner has also provided more than 90 percent of the manpower hours required to build a home.

 

 

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Rays having advanced talks with free-agent RHP Tommy Hunter

Tommy Hunter, 29, is coming off abdominal surgery that could sideline him at the start of the season.

Getty Images

Tommy Hunter, 29, is coming off abdominal surgery that could sideline him at the start of the season.

The Rays have been having advanced talks with free-agent Tommy Hunter as they seek to add another experienced reliever.

Hunter, 29, is coming off abdominal surgery that could sideline him at the start of the season.  The hard-throwing right-hander split 2015 between the Orioles and Cubs, going 4-2, 4.18. Per ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Hunter sustained the injury late in the season.

The two previous seasons in Baltimore he was 9-7, 2.88 with 15 saves.

The Rays have also talked to free-agent RHP Ryan Webb and others, and discussed trade possibilities. Hunter, who made $4.65-million last season, is also talking to other teams, and may be seeking a multiyear deal.

The Rays have a hole in their bullpen since trading LHP Jake McGee, leaving RHP Alex Colome and LHP Xaiver Cedeno as the most likely setup men to closer Brad Boxberger.

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Photos: Packing the trucks for Port Charlotte

Jack Thistle and Greg Ickes, workers for TranZPort Services of St. Petersburg, load several trucks with baseball equipment and personal items for the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The trucks are headed to Port Charlotte for spring training.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Jack Thistle and Greg Ickes, workers for TranZPort Services of St. Petersburg, load several trucks with baseball equipment and personal items for the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The trucks are headed to Port Charlotte for spring training.

Tuesday was a busy day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Several trucks were loaded with equipment to be driven to the Ray's spring training home in Port Charlotte. 

Pitchers and catchers are set to report on Feb. 21. Position players report on Feb. 25, and the first full workout is Feb. 26. 

The first game is against the Washington Nationals at 1:05 p.m. March 2 in Port Charlotte.

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Rays among teams considering reliever Tyler Clippard

Free-agent RHP Tyler Clippard may not have to look far for a new home.

The Rays are among the teams interested in the Mitchell High product, who finished 2015 with the Mets, going 5-4, 2.92 with 19 saves overall.

Clippard, 31 on Feb. 14, is looking at a pay cut from the $8.3-million he made last season.

The Rays can offer a set-up role, the chance to play near home and the Florida tax break.

The D'backs and Mets are among those also interested.

 

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Snell, Adames, Honeywell top Baseball America Rays prospect list

Pitcher Blake Snell is at the top of Baseball America's list of the Rays' top 30 prospects.

MARC TOPKIN | Times

Pitcher Blake Snell is at the top of Baseball America's list of the Rays' top 30 prospects.

LHP Blake Snell was the obvious selection at the top of Baseball America's list of the Rays top 30 prospects included in the just-released annual Prospect Handbook.

SS Willy Adames and RHP Brent Honeywell were also logical choices for the next two slots, but there were some surprises down the rest of the list in the rankings and capsules that are must-reading to keep up on the prospects.

The rankings are compiled before the December Rule 5 draft and some trades, so not all transactions are reflected. 3B Kevin Padlo, acquired from Colorado in the Jake McGee trade, was No. 18 on the Rockies list.

Players who have been in the majors are shown in bold.

Here is the list:
1. LHP Blake Snell
2. SS Willy Adames
3. RHP Brent Honeywell
4. OF/1B Jake Bauers
5. OF Garrett Whitley
6. OF Mikie Mahtook
7. RHP Taylor Guerrieri
8. RHP Jacob Faria
9. 1B Casey Gillaspie
10. SS Daniel Robertson
11. 3B/1B Richie Shaffer
12. 2B Ryan Brett
13. C Justin O'Conner
14. RHP German Marquez (since traded to Rockies)
15. C Chris Betts
16. RHP Chih-Wei Hu
17. OF Justin Williams
18. SS Adrian Rondon
19. RHP Brandon Koch
20. RHP Andrew Bellatti
21. INF/OF Taylor Motter
22. OF Tyler Goeddel (since taken by Phillies in Rule 5 draft)
23. RHP Jamie Schultz
24. RHP Hunter Wood
25. SS Jake Hager
26. C Nick Ciuffo
27. C Luke Maile
28. OF Thomas Milone
29. LHP Enny Romero
30. RHP Jose Mujica
Bonus No. 31. OF Jesus Sanchez

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Rays release details on FanFest

Nathan Smallwood, 2, and his mother, Cari Morales, of St. Petersburg, watch as Rays mascot, Raymond, shows off some dance moves among a group of hula hoopers at last year's Rays Fan Fest.

LARA CERRI | Times

Nathan Smallwood, 2, and his mother, Cari Morales, of St. Petersburg, watch as Rays mascot, Raymond, shows off some dance moves among a group of hula hoopers at last year's Rays Fan Fest.

The Rays today released details on the Feb. 27 FanFest, with autograph tickets going on sale next week. 

Here is the release from the team:

Autograph passes for the 2016 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest presented by the Tampa Bay Times will go on sale next week. Rays Fan Fest is scheduled for Saturday, February 27 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Season Ticket Holders are granted early entry to Fan Fest beginning at 10 a.m. Admission and parking are free.

Rays autographs at Fan Fest will be available with the purchase of an autograph pass. These player-specific passes go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 10 exclusively at raysbaseball.com, subject to availability. Rays Season Ticket Holders and fans who sign up for the Rays Insider newsletter at raysbaseball.com by noon on Monday, February 8 will receive information regarding presale opportunities. Autograph passes provide access to a player at a specific time during Fan Fest. A limited number will be sold for each signing player, and all sales must be completed online in advance of Fan Fest.  …

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Smyly beats Rays in arbitration case, will make $3.75M

Drew Smyly was limited to 12 starts last season due to shoulder injuries that forced him to the DL twice.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Drew Smyly was limited to 12 starts last season due to shoulder injuries that forced him to the DL twice.

LHP Drew Smyly won his arbitration case over the Rays and will make $3.75-million this season, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed.

The Rays offered $3.2-million to Smyly, who made $2.65-million last year while being limited to 12 starts due to shoulder injuries that forced him to the DL twice.

The team and Smyly's agents presented their cases in Phoenix on Tuesday and a three-member panel chose between the two figures and issued a decision today.

The Rays had been 6-0 in hearings over their first 18 seasons, including 5-0 under the Stuart Sternberg ownership.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network was first to report the news.

The team is expected to have a comment later today.

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Rays' trip to Cuba appears set; one game on March 22

Chris Archer and the Rays will be the first major-league team to play in Cuba since 1999, when the Orioles made a visit.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Chris Archer and the Rays will be the first major-league team to play in Cuba since 1999, when the Orioles made a visit.

The Rays spring trip to Cuba is close to being finalized, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

The expected plan is for the team to play one game against the Cuban National Team on March 22 in Havana.

The game may be shown on ESPN.

The Rays, who were chosen among several interested teams via random lottery, will be the first major-league team to play in Cuba since 1999, when the Orioles made a visit.

After a pre-game ceremony that featured a flag ceremony and greetings from Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the Orioles won 3-2 in 11 innings.

The Rays' trip was originally tentatively slated for March 28-30, so it will cause further changes in the Rays spring schedule.

Per the schedule on the team website, the Rays have cancelled a March 21 game against the Braves in Port Charlotte, and added a March 29 game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin and a March 30 game against the Red Sox in Port Charlotte.

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Rays, Smyly argue MLB's first arbitration case

 The Rays and LHP Drew Smyly argued baseball's first arbitration case Wednesday in Phoenix over a difference of $550,000.

A three-member panel will to announce a decision Thursday between the Rays' offer of $3.2-million and Smyly's request for $3.75-million.

Either way, Smyly gets a solid raise from the $2.65-million he made last season while making only 12 starts due to a shoulder injury that landed him on the DL twice, going 5-2, 3.11.

The Rays were represented by senior vice president/general counsel John Higgins, Smyly was there with his agents.

The Rays have a policy to break off talks and procede to a hearing once figures are exchanged, which eliminates the opportunity to settle at the midpoint.

The Rays are 6-0 in arbitration hearings over their 19 seasons, 5-0 under the Stuart Sternberg regime.

Also, the Rays signed RHP Adam Reifer to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring camp.

Reifer, 29, spent last season pitching in Mexico after most of the previous four at the Triple-A level in the St. Louis, Miami and San Francisco organizations.

 

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Rays add RHP Adam Reifer on minor-league deal

The Rays added another pitcher to their spring training roster, signing RH Adam Reifer to a minor league deal.

Reifer, 29, spent last season pitching in Mexico after parts of the previous four at the Triple-A level, most recently with the Giants organization. 

He was originally drafted by the Cardinals.

 

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Kevin Kiermaier to take on 35-ounce steak for charity

Rays Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier earned the nickname The Outlaw for robbing opponents of hits with his speed, agility and good hands.

He will be tested a different way Thursday, trying to eat a 35-ounce smoked ribeye steak, plus two side salads and dessert, to earn a $4,000 donation from the Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill to the Friends of Joshua House charity.

Kiermaier will make his bid at 6 p.m. at the Clearwater location (2693 Gulf to Bay Blvd.) as part of the nationwide launch of the new menu item.

 

 

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A-Rod pulls out of Ted Williams event; limited tickets remain

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez will skip his Saturday induction into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame at Tropicana Field, pulling out due to a conflict with a Super Bowl-related event in California.

Rodriguez, who taped an acceptance speech, is one of six honorees, part of the Dinner with Chris Archer & Friends event, along with Dante Bichette and Alan Trammell, plus pitchers Roy Halladay and Billy Wagner, and Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland.

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs and Rays Gold Glover Kevin Kiermaier are among nearly 20 signing autographs. Limited $125 tickets remain; call 727-534-5343 or email tpenna@tedwilliamsmuseum.com.

 

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