TAMPA BAY RAYS
Chaim Bloom, Rays VP of baseball operations
With Matt Silverman taking over for departed Andrew Friedman as the Rays new President of Baseball Operations, two top assistants, Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander, were promoted from directors to vice presidents of baseball operations to reflect their additional duties and responsibilities.
"Erik and Chaim's promotions are well deserved as they have been essential contributors to our operation for years," Silverman said in a statement. "I look forward to working with them in all facets of baseball operations, and I know they will continue to be great leaders of our deeply talented and dedicated department." …Full Story
Matt Silverman made it pretty clear after taking over as president of baseball operations that Joe Maddon would manage the Rays in 2015, the last year of his current contract.
And Andrew Friedman, in his first comments since leaving the Rays to take over the Dodgers, further quelled any speculation of a trade or brokered deal, saying Friday Don Mattingly would "definitely" manage in LA this season.
The Rays signed RHP Michael Kohn to a major-league contract, filling their 40 man roster.
Kohn, 28, spent parts of the last four seasons with the Angels, going 5-6 with a 3.67 ERA.
Kohn (pronounced John) was on the Angels 2014 opening day roster, but was optioned to Triple A June 3 and spent most of the rest of the season there.
- Marc Topkin, Times staff writer
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Rays LH reliever Jeff Beliveau also has been named to the MLB team that will tour Japan next month and compete in a five-game series against Japanese All-Stars and play several exhibitions.
Believeau did well in his most extensive MLB action this past season, compiling a 2.63 ERA over 30 games and picking up his first big-league save. He is expected to be a key piece of the Rays bullpen next season.
Beliveau, 27, joins two other Rays on the MLB squad, 3B Evan Longoria and INF/OF Ben Zobrist.
JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman is leaving the Rays for the Dodgers.
UPDATE, 6:04: Some quick notes from the conference call:
* Sternberg said he has always considered Silverman the top choice to take over if Friedman ever left, that he is "absolutely the right person."
* Silverman said they will maintain the same basic philosophy, but there will be some new ideas they will incorporate as well.
* Sternberg said Friedman won't be taking anyone from baseball ops with him.
* Silverman said it was "a very difficult day" for him in seeing Friedman leave, but he was confident they would return to their winning ways.
* Silverman said he has no plans to hire a GM or a senior adviser, and also that he doesn't expetc to be in the job for 10 years, as Friedman nearly was. Expect expanded roles for assistants Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander.
* Sternberg said Auld will get involved in stadium talks "when and if they progress.''
UPDATE, 5:14: There has been considerable speculation about the future of Rays manager Joe Maddon, who is signed through the 2015. Maddon just told the Times he is not looking to go anywhere and is "positive" there will be talks on an extension. …Full Story
The Rays two top position players, 3B Evan Longoria and INF/OF Ben Zobrist, are set to be part of the MLB All-Star team that will tour Japan in mid-November and play seven games.
The MLB team will play a five-game series against a Japanese All-Star team, and also play two exhibitions. All told, there will be seven games in four cities from Nov. 11 through 20.
Boston manager John Farrell will manage the MLB team, which will also include Nationals OF Bryce
Harper, Astros INF Jose Altuve, Rockies 1B Justin Morneau, Angels 1B Albert Pujols, Mariners 2b Robinson Cano, Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig, Orioles OF Adam Jones.
Longoria said he is eager to be part of the team.
"I'm really excited to be a part of a team that has the opportunity to represent the United States and MLB in sharing our game with another nation that has a rich baseball history,'' he said. "It should be really fun.''
Zobrist is equally excited "to get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the Japanese culture, and the baseball culture at that, from this perspective.''
Could the fallout from the Dodgers' flameout in the playoffs impact the Rays?
Initially, there was speculation the Dodgers could inquire about Joe Maddon as a potential replacement if manager Don Mattingly is fired.
Now there is a report, by Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, that the Dodgers may soon ditch GM Ned Colletti and "their top target appears to be Andrew Friedman," the Rays executive vice president.
Friedman, who operates without a longterm contract, has given no indication he is inclined to leave the Rays, declining previous opportunities with the Angels and his hometown Astros.
Friedman has earned an impressive reputation nationally in his nine years on the job, specifically in keeping the Rays competitive against significantly higher payrolled opponents such as the Yankees and Red Sox.
Gerry Hunsicker, who spent seven years in the Rays front office as a senior vice president, now works in a similar role for the Dodgers.
As for Maddon, he is under contract through the 2015 seaason but the Rays, based on past history, are expected to have talks this off-season on an extension, and Maddon has indicated he wants to stay. …Full Story
The first of the two videos shows Evan Longoria working out in Port Charlotte.
Rays 3B Evan Longoria is featured in a new video series from New Balance designed to provide behind the scenes looks at several players.
The first two of the three videos about Longoria have been released, the first showing his workouts - clearly taped in Port Charlotte, though with an interstate sign to Tampa edited in - and the second dealing with his interest in sneakers, with a tease to his own model of sneaker coming out next spring.
The full series, which will include ex-Ray Scott Kazmir, will be posted at newbalance.com/unlaced.
Here is the first video:
And here is the second:
Radio broadcaster Dave Wills agreed Thursday to a new three-year deal that will keep him in the Rays booth through 2017.
Wills and partner Andy Freed recently completed their 10th seasons together, and are regarded as among the best tandems in the majors.
"I want to thank the Rays for their continued support and I am thankful that they will allow me to continue living my dream!,'' Willl posted on his Facebook page. "I truly believe I have the best "job" in the world!''
Freed has two years remaining on his current deal.
There were several Rays who had down years offensively, from 3b Evan Longoria to OF Wil Myers.
And then there was C Jose Molina, who had arguably the least productive season of any player in at least the past 100 years.
Seriously. As if the .178 average weren't low enough, no player who went to the plate that often - 225 at-bats - did so little.
His two - TWO - extra-base hits matched the fewest by any player in history. (Molina even had more steals, three.) His four - FOUR - runs scored were the fewest. And his .187 slugging percentage was the lowest in more than 100 years.
The Rays didn't make the playoffs this year, but there will be ex-Rays scattered throughout the postseason, which starts Tuesday night:Full Story
RHP Wade Davis
INF Jayson Nix+
RHP James Shields
Pitching coach Dave Eiland
RHP Jesse Chavez+
OF Sam Fuld
OF Jonny Gomes
RHP Jason Hammel
C/DH John Jaso*
LHP Scott Kazmir
1B/C Stephen Vogt
Coach Ariel Prieto
OF Josh Hamilton+
INF Shawn O'Malley
Interim hitting coach Paul Sorrento
Pitching coach Mike Butcher#
INF Kelly Johnson
RHP Evan Meek+
OF Delmon Young
LHP Kyle Lobstein+
LHP David Price
Pitching coach Ray Searage#
LHP Randy Choate
OF Carl Crawford
RHP Roberto Hernandez
LHP J.P. Howell
RHP Jamey Wright
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Rafael Soriano
+ Was in Rays system, didn't play in majors
# coached with Rays
DIRK SHADD | Times
Matt Moore with his goldendoogle, Griffin.
ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays packed up their clubhouse today following a disappointing 2014 season.
"It was a tough year for the team," OF Wil Myers said before leaving Tropicana Field. "Just one of those years that a lot of weird things happened. I think everybody’s exited for it to be over but looking forward to next year."
Here are some photos from Times photojournalist Dirk Shadd.Full Story
Alex Cobb will be on the mound, pitching primarily just to log innings since he missed six weeks on the DL.
DEVELOPING: Rays manager Joe Maddon retiterated that he hopes to stay with the Rays and said, even though he turns 61 in February, he thinks he could manage another 10 years, until he is in his 70s and plans to step up a workout plan this off-season.
Maddon also said there was nothing to read into starting veteran C Jose Molina in today's farewell. Though Molina is signed for next season at $2.75-million, his poor production this season has led to speculation he may be done as a Ray. Maddon said it was simply a matter of splitting the workload with Ryan Hanigan, who has been playing with a sore toe.
Here is the Indians lineup:
DEVELOPING: The Rays are set to wrap up their disappointing season this afternoon against the Indians.
RHP Alex Cobb will be on the mound, pitching primarily just to log innings since he missed six weeks on the DL. After 1 2/3, he will have the 162 necessary to qualify for the final AL ERA leaderboard; his 2.75 would rank sixth. …Full Story
UPDATE, 5:22: Rays manager Joe Maddon said he does not expect any changes in the coaching staff for next season and praised the work of hitting coach Derek Shelton, who is oft criticized by fans. ... The Indians switched pitchers for Sunday, with LHP TJ House now starting instead of RHP Danny Salazar. ... Rays C Curt Casali said he feels much better since sustaining a concussion on Tuesday but won't play tonight or Sunday.
DEVELOPING: The Rays play the second-to-last game of their disappointing season tonight at 6 against the Indians. Nick Franklin gets another start at shortstop, with Ben Zobrist in centerfield. And Evan Longoria plays in his 161st game of the season.
Here is the Rays lineup for tonight's game against the Indians:
UPDATE, 6:12: Maddon said they want to see Franklin at SS, maybe for a couple times this weekend, to get a better sense of his range and arm there, as it gives them more depth and options. ... RHP Nathan Karns will be in the bullpen this weekend. .. Though stopping short of saying he is shutdown, Maddon sounded like he would be unlikely to use RHP Brad Boxberger.
UPDATE, 3:50: The Rays will take a look at Nick Franklin at SS tonight.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are in Cleveland tonight, taking the field in a game that actually matters - for the Indians.
Albeit quite slim, the Indians playoff hopes remain alive, though a loss to the Rays tonight - or at anytime this weekend - would end their chances. As would any win by the A's, or two wins by the Mariners. …Full Story