Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi and OF Corey Dickerson, plus radio broadcaster Dave Wills and mascot Raymond, will be on hand Saturday to mark the 100 Saturdays of Buddy Baseball event in Temple Terrace. Buddy Baseball is a non-competitive recreational league for boys and girls ages 8-22 with special needs who are paired with a buddy to assist them on the field. The program started in Oct. 2009 and has grown to include 88 players and 93 buddies from a five-county area. Saturday's event is at the Family Recreation Complex, 6700 Whiteway Drive.
Chris Archer in the upcoming Uncle Grandpa episode.
Rays RHP Chris Archer joins other big-leaguers Jose Altuve, Adam Jones, David Price and Noah Syndergaard for an "appearance" in the World Series-themed episode of the Uncle Grandpa animated series on The Cartoon Network.
The episode will air Oct. 22, at 12:15 p.m., and should also be available through the network app. Here is a clip from the show:
Chris Archer will provide analysis for ESPN as part of its pre- and post-game TV shows and during the game on radio.
Chris Archer, obviously, rather would be pitching in the World Series.
Instead, the Rays righthander will be there providing analysis for ESPN as part of its pre- and post-game TV shows and during the game on radio.
"At the end of the day, it's fun to educate the fans from a current player's perspective,'' Archer told the Times. "They have great analysts, and I think me going on there - and the reception I got last year was for the most part 100 percent positive - I can educate them on what the pitcher is trying to do. It's definitely a different perspective.''
Archer received rave reviews for his TV work last postseason, and was interested in returning. The deal was finalized this week. …
Kevin Kiermaier could be in line for a raise to around $3-million for 2017 rather than getting $550,000 or so.
As detailed in Sunday's Times, the large number of arbitration eligible players the Rays may have, and the corresponding salaries they will get, compound the challenge they face this off-season in trying to improve the team without increase the payroll.
The mlbtraderumors.com site reported today the cutoff for Super 2 arbitration eligibility is expected to be within 2.127 and 2.131 days of service time, which if correct would mean that OF Kevin Kiermaier, 2.131, would qualify. If so, Kiermaier would be in line for a raise to around $3-million for 2017 rather than getting $550,000 or so, and would would make more over each of the next three seasons with that as his base as he now would have four years of eligibility rather than three. RHP Danny Farquhar also would be eligible, RHP Chase Whitley (2.125) could fall just short.
Mlbtraderumors.com also released its projected arbitration salaries for each of the eligible players, and there is model is usually pretty good, though in their list of Rays players they seem to be a little light on Kiermaier and RHP Brad Boxberger, and maybe on Alex Cobb, who made $4-million each of the last two seasons when not pitching due to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
Here are the mlbtraderumors.com projections, with service time shown, first-time eligibles in bold: …
Jake Odorizzi talking with members of the Write Field program.
Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi made a Saturday morning visit to the Poynter Institute in downtown St. Petersburg to speak with members of the Write Field program, which was designed five years ago "to improve the academic performance and life skills of selected middle school boys.''
Jaff Decker hit .154 in 19 games for the Rays with one extra base and RBI.
The Rays began the process of clearing space on their 40-man roster, dropping OF Jaff Decker, INF Juniel Querecuto and Ps Dana Eveland and Justin Marks.
All four were outrighted to Triple-A Durham after clearing waivers, having finished the season in the majors, and will have the opportunity to become free agents by the end of the World Series.
Decker, Eveland and Querecuto had gone home at the end of the minor-league season, then were called back due to injuries to join the Rays for the final weeks. Marks spent the season with the Bulls then was called up.
The moves drop the roster to 36, with free-agent RHP Kevin Jepsen and INF Alexei Ramirez also so come off. The Rays will need to reinstate SS Matt Duffy and OF Steven Souza Jr. from the 60-day DL, and add several young prospects to protect them from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. They also need to reinstate 1B Logan Morrison, who is a free agent anyway.
Decker hit .154 in 19 games for the Rays with one extra base and RBI.
Eveland had three stints with the Rays this season, posting an 0-1, 9.00 mark in 33 appearances, allowing 54 baserunners (32 hits, 19 walks, 3 HBPs) in 23 innings.
Marks went 7-11, 3.86 for Durham and, in his second career stint in the majors, allowed one earned run over nine innings in four games for the Rays.
Querecuto played in four games, getting one hit, a triple. …
With the Giants ousting the Mets (who had three former Rays in their starting lineup) on Wednesday, and the Blue Jays (who have four total) eliminating the Orioles, here is an update of our ex-Rays factor heading into the Division Series round of the playoffs. That starts today, with Blue Jays at Rangers and Red Sox at Indians:
1. Cubs Players: RHP Jason Hammel, LHP Mike Montgomery, 2B Ben Zobrist Staff: Manager Joe Maddon, pitching coach Chris Bosio, assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske, bench coach Dave Martinez Baseline: Zobrist is by far most relevant player of the group, but so much about the Cubs stems from Maddon's personality and his way of doing things, which, with Martinez at his side, kind of makes them an updated and improved model of those Rays teams from back in the day when made the playoffs, like 2008-13. …
Matt Silverman, front, said the bullpen is a top target area for enhancement. Kevin Cash, back, said improving baserunning is going to be a priority for spring training.
The Rays top baseball officials put a wrap on their poor 2016 season Tuesday, saying they were disappointed by what took place in going 68-94 but confident of and committed to improving.
"We're hellbent on getting this team back into contention,'' baseball operations president Matt Silverman said.
Manager Kevin Cash and Silverman both said they believe they have a good core of players, but that internal improvements and external additions are needed.
"We have a lot of the guys in house, but we're going to need to make some changes and we're going to need to bring in some new players, too,'' Silverman said. "The core is intact, the core is talented, and if you listen to the players talk, if you listen to Kevin and the coaches, they will tell you, too. There is still a lot of confidence, there is still a lot of optimism within our clubhouse, and that bodes well for next year.''
Silverman said the bullpen is a top target area for enhancement, and Cash said that improving baserunning is going to be a priority for spring training, which starts Feb, 12. …
Lou Piniella, a Tampa native, ranks 14th all-time with 1,835 wins during 23 seasons managing the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays and Cubs.
Former Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella and longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner are among 10 candidates who will be considered for Baseball Hall of Fame election by committee vote in December.
Piniella, a Tampa native, ranks 14th all-time with 1,835 wins (and 13th with 1,713 losses) during 23 seasons managing the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays and Cubs. Steinbrenner, the longtime Tampa resident, presided over the Yankees' return to championship caliber during a controversial reign that ended with his July 2010 death.
Also on the ballot are former players Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, and Mark McGwire; former commissioner Bud Selig and longtime Braves president John Schuerholz as executives; and manager Davey Johnson.
The 16-member Today's Game Era Committee will votes on each candidate during the winter meetings, with 75 percent needed for election.
The Today's Game Era was one of four identifed by the Hall in a recent reorganization of the process for considering veteran players, managers executives and umpires for election.
Here is more from the Hall explaining the process: …
Chase Whitley will be on the mound for the Rays today, making his first start following four relief appearances after his return from May 2015 Tommy John surgery.
UPDATE, 1:39: Not much baseball talk in the Rays clubhouse this morning, with lots of attention on the football games and the fantast implications. .... Kiermaier said his leg was still too tight and sore to play, which disappointed him.
Rangers lineup: Gomez cf Choo rf Beltran dh Beltre 3b Mazara lf Lucroy c Andrus ss Rua 1b Profar 2b Perez p
UPDATE, 12:38: As expected, CF Kevin Kiermaier is not in today's lineup after leaving Saturday's game a few innings after being hit on the left calf by a pitch. Also, Brad Miller is not playing today.
Longoria today will play in his 160th game for the fourth straight season, something only three active players have done.
Here is the Rays lineup: Forsythe 2b, Mahtook cf, Longoria 3b, Dickerson lf, Shaffer 1b, Ramirez ss, Casali dh, Maile c, Decker rf, Whitley p
DEVELOPING: The Rays put the wraps on a disappointing season today when they take on the Rangers at 3:05 today.
While several teams around baseball are playing to get into the playoffs or for seeding, the only thing the Rays have going is whether they finish with 94 or 95 losses and where they pick in the 2017 draft, from second to sixth. …
After driving in runs for the Rays, INF/OF Nick Franklin plans to spend part of his off-season driving people around Orlando for Uber.
Franklin said he started driving last winter because he was bored. "I wanted to do something on the weekends because I never really do anything,'' he said.
Franklin said he got off to a rough start, getting a speeding ticket for his first trip, but has enjoyed the experience, making around 25 trips in his truck, usually around downtown Orlando hotspots, even providing water and tissues for his passengers. He said his driver rating is 4.9, on the 0-5 scale.
No one has recognized him as a ballplayer, but Franklin, who made around $350,000 this year, did have a couple of awkward moments picking up former high school buddies in his hometown.
"I told them I'm just doing it for fun,'' he said. "I ended up meeting some pretty cool people along the way.''
UPDATE, 6:38: The Rays took batting practice for the final time this season. ... Cash talked about Longoria, Miller and Colome among the highlights of the season. ... RHP Chase Whitley said he was looking forwar to starting Sunday.
Rangers day-after-clinching-homefield-advantage lineup: Choo rf Desmond cf Mazara lf Odor 2b Rua 1b Moreland dh Profar ss Gallo 3b Chirinos c Lewis p
DEVELOPING: The Rays play the the second-to-last game of their disappointing season, taking on the Rangers at 8:05.
RHP Jake Odorizzi, coming off a rough outing but pitching well since the All-Star break, will be on the mound for the Rays. RHP Colby Lewis starts for the Rangers.
Here is the Rays lineup, with Evan Longoria three RBIs from 100 for the season:
Forsythe 2b, Kiermaier cf, Longoria 3b, Miller 1b, Dickerson lf, Franklin DH, Mahtook rf, Ramirez ss, Wilson c, Odorizzi p
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