Live from Port Charlotte: Media conference highlights
Rays VP Andrew Friedman and Manager Joe Maddon answer questions during their pre-spring media conference. Photo by James Borchuck
Much of the talk about the Rays has been about the players they lose, but as executive VP Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon talked for nearly 40 minutes today in their pre-spring media conference, they are obviously focused on the players they have.
* They have high expectations for their young rotation, saying they consider all five capable of 10-plus wins and 150 innings. Maddon called it the type of pitching staff that can win championships. "One through five, pretty firm,'' he said.
* They look at their core of young players and say they are good enough to blossom and eventually will be the ones people are talking about after they leave, such as SS Reid Brignac, C John Jaso, OF Matt Joyce, 2B Sean Rodriguez and, of course, 3B Evan Longoria.
* They acknowledge the concern is the bullpen, but say they are confident enough in the pitchers they do have and expect to continue looking to improve it during the spring. Also, that they are "pretty much full expecting" to use the closer by committee until someone emerges or arrives to convince them otherwise.
* Maddon talked extensively about this theme for this spring, which is that the Rays have to find "another way" to win.
* RHP Juan Cruz is the only one of the of the 38 pitchers and catchers who is not expected for Wednesday's first workout as he may be delayed by visa issues. New DH Manny Ramirez is expected for Monday's first full-squad workout.