'm surprised and upset at losing a player, clubhouse presence and friend like Logan,'' Evan Longoria tweeted to the Times. "He's a rare player.''
Team officials had their reasons for trading well-respected 2B Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers for prospect RHP Jose De Leon, and here is a sampling of the reaction from various Rays:
3B and team leader Evan Longoria, in a text reply to the Tampa Bay Times:
"I don't really have much. I'm surprised and upset at losing a player, clubhouse presence and friend like Logan. He's a rare player. I always wish him the best.''
OF Steven Souza Jr:
Very sad day for me personally, I'm losing one of my best friends and we're losing one of our best players. Nothing but mad respect for him!
Rays RHP Chris Archer, on Twitter:
"I'm really, really, really gonna miss Logie bear. Doesn't get more classy or blue collar than him. Happy I was able to play with that man. ... with that being said, we welcome @JDL_87 with open arms.''
So why exactly did the Rays trade 2B Logan Forsythe, taking one of the key hitters out of their lineup and upsetting some of their players, led by veteran star Evan Longoria? Because they felt the chance to get a young, high-upside, premium starting pitcher prospect like Jose De Leon was worth it, Marc Topkin writes.
So why exactly did the Rays trade 2B Logan Forsythe, taking one of the key hitters out of their lineup and upsetting some of their players, led by veteran star Evan Longoria?
Because they felt the chance to get a young, high-upside, premium starting pitcher prospect like Jose De Leon was worth it.
And, GM Erik Neander said, because it's the kind of move they have to make, as they have done many times before, to try to remain competitive with the financial resources of other teams.
"Adding Jose where he's at certainly deepens our starting pitching and we're excited about that,'' Neander said. "It's very important as we try to have success in 2017 and into the future.
"Our eyes are constantly on where we're at in 2017 and beyond that. In this case, beyong that .. the later, I don't think is too far off. …
Though overshadowed by the Logan Forsythe-Jose DeLeon trade, the Rays completion of the signing of RHP Shawn Tolleson is a low-cost gamble that could pay off big if he can regain his 2015 form, when he saved 35 games for Texas. Over 2014-15, Tolleson posted a 2.88 ERA while working 137 games, striking out 145 in 144 innings.
The Rays will pay Tolleson a $1-million salary, with the potential for another $1.15 in incentives. Here is a breakdown, terms obtained by the Tampa Bay Times:
Nine things to know about new Rays RHP Jose De Leon, acquired Monday night from the Dodgers:
* Full name Jose Eugenio De Leon, listed at 6-2 and 190, born and raised in Puerto Rico, attended Southern University and A&M College, from where he was a 24th-round draft pick in 2013 and signed for $35,000. That's the same school, per baseball-reference.com, that produced Hall of Famer Lou Brock and Vida Blue among others.
* Dodgers boss Andrew Friedman said to the Times of De Leon: "Jose is a tremendously talented pitching prospect. That part is obvious, but what made it so difficult to include him in this trade is his makeup. That combination gives him a great chance to reach his tremendous potential. He's elite at missing bats and is essentially major league ready."
* MLB Pipeline immediately ranked him as the Rays No. 2 prospect, behind only INF Willy Adames and ahead of pitchers such as RHP Brent Honeywell (No. 3), RHP Jacob Faria (6), and RHP Chih-Wei Hu (7).
* He tweeted after the deal was announced from his @JDL_87 account: "Can't find the words to thank the @Dodgers, teammates, coaches & fans. NOW.. taking the mission to @RaysBaseball. Beyond excited #OnAMission" …
The Rays have traded 2B Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers for RHP Jose DeLeon.
DeLeon, 24, is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the game, having made four starts for the Dodgers last year.
"We are very excited to add Jose De León to the Rays organization. He's a talented starting pitching prospect who can soon become a key member of our major league rotation," Rays GM Erik Neander said in a statement,. "It's a bittersweet day, though, as we part ways with Logan Forsythe in this trade. He's not only a first-class player, but he's also a great teammate and leader in the clubhouse. We will miss him, and we thank him for all he did as a Ray."
DeLeon is 23-13 with a 3.35 ERA and 446 strikeouts in 330 2/3 innings in 67 minor-league games over four seasons. In 2016, he was 7-1, 2.61 ERA with 111 strikeouts over 86 1/3 innings, a .194 opponents' average and 5.55 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in 16 starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City, though he missed parts of the season with ankle and shoulder injuries.
Neander said on a conference call the opportunity to get DeLeon was too good to pass up. …
Chris Archer with his former and current hair styles.
Rays RHP Chris Archer is changing his look - for now anyway - swapping his free-flowing hair style for dreadlocks. Archer went to the new style five-six weeks ago, but hasn't decided yet if he'll keep it for the upcoming season. "I'm in the process of getting dreadlocks,'' Archer said. "These are starter dreads.'' Archer said the new look didn't require him to trim his longer locks, so he could return to that look as well: "We'll see.''
The shocking death of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, and the earlier death of former big-leaguer Andy Marte, in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic, drew reaction from throughout the baseball world, including several Rays:
My heart breaks for the news of Yordanna Ventura. Lifting up his family this morning to the Lord.
We join those across the MLB family in mourning today. Our thoughts are with the friends and loved ones of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura.
What a sad day in the baseball world. 2 players gone way too early. Prayers out for the Ventura and Marte families.
Winning the World Series has led to immensely increased exposure for the Cubs, including manager Joe Maddon, who worked previously for the Rays and still lives in Tampa.
And the latest example is quite interesting, a song created and performed by NPR's popular Prairie Home Companion crew, called, "We, Joe Maddon." It's not likely to replace "Go Cubs Go" as the fan anthem, but is somewhat catchy.
The folks at mlb.com first noted the video, which actually is tied to Maddon's bullpen decisions, and we present it below. Per PHC's YouTube page, it was their "Song of the Week'' for the Jan. 14 broadcast and was performed by Chris Thile, with Sarah Jarosz, Rich Dworsky, Chris Eldridge, Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert, and Ted Poor.
Mikie Mahtook goes from battling with newly acquired Mallex Smith for a spot as a reserve with the Rays to the chance to competing for Detroit's starting centerfield job.
OF Mikie Mahtook has been working out in preparation for another spring training with the Rays in Port Charlotte, already set to share a rental home with Brad Miller and Curt Casali, when he got the surprising news Wednesday that he'd been traded to the Tigers.
"Weird is probably a good way to describe it,'' Mahtook said Thursday from Detroit. "I Was not expecting it. Obviously I had no idea it was coming. I wasn't anticipating anything. I was just going about my off-season like I normally do, getting ready for spring training. Then I got the phone call. And then it got really weird.''
As much as being traded can create logistical issues, it can also present opportunity.
For Mahtook, that means going from battling with newly acquired Mallex Smith for a spot as a reserve with the Rays to the chance to compete for Detroit's starting centerfield job. …
Tim Raines poses for a photograph after a TV interview Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, in Goodyear, Ariz. shortly after being elected to baseball's Hall of Fame. Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion.
Tim Raines could have been a Florida Gator running back rather than one of baseball's newest Hall of Famers.
Starring in football and baseball at Sanford's Seminole High, while also running track, Raines wasn't sure which sport to pursue. Drafted in the fifth round by the Montreal Expos as a switch-hitting shortstop in 1977, he decided to give baseball a chance first.
"When this journey first started, I wasn't really sure baseball was the sport I should have chosen,'' Raines said on a Hall conference call Wednesday night. "I figured I would start out at a young age and see if I was good enough to stay in baseball. I was going to give myself actually two years. Give myself two years, see what happened. If things worked out I would continue to play baseball. If things didn't work out I was going to walk on at the University of Florida and play football.
"My dream as a kid was to be in the NFL. Fortunately, that didn't work out. And, thank God, baseball ended up being the sport that I chose.'' …
Tim Raines' road from Sanford to the major leagues will now take him to Cooperstown, as the longtime outfielder was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his 10th and final year of eligibility.
Jeff Bagwell, a longtime star with the Astros, and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who redefined the catching position with his defensive skills, also received the necessary 75 percent of the votes to be inducted.
Just missing out was reliever Trevor Hoffman, who fell five votes short of the 332 needed.
Also of note was the 10 percent increase in votes for two players considered the poster boys of the "steroids era,'' as Barry Bonds' total went up to 53.8 and Roger Clemens to 54.1.
Two Tampa products on the ballot didn't move much, with Fred McGriff getting 21.7 percent and Gary Sheffield 13.3.
Needing to clear space on their 40-man roster, the Rays on Wednesday traded OF Mikie Mahtook to the Tigers for cash or a player to be named later.
Mahtook, a first-round pick in the Rays mostly-disappointing 2011 draft class, played parts of the last two seasons in the majors.
As impressive as Mahtook was during his 2015 debut, he was disappointing last season, struggling and missing time with injuries. Overall, he hit .195 with 3 homers and 11 RBIs over 65 games, making 50 starts between the three positions.
The Rays need to make room on the 40-man roster to add free agent OF Colby Rasmus and RHP Shawn Tolleson, whose free-agent signings should be made official soon. Mahtook's role on the team was diminished with the acquisition of Mallex Smith in trade.
Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell had seven 100-run/100-RBI seasons, won an MVP award (plus five other top-10 finishes) and was the 1991 Rookie of the Year.
Today is Hall of Fame day, with the announcement of this year's election set for 6 p.m. on MLB Network.
Based on 235-plus released ballots, roughly half the total, it looks like OF Tim Raines, enjoying a bump of support in his final year of eligibility, and 1B Jeff Bagwell will receive the required 75 percent needed for election. Closer Trevor Hoffman and C Ivan Rodriguez, in his first year on the ballot, look to be close calls, and potentially OF Vlad Guerrero as well.
But almost as important as who gets in will be the expected rise in support for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the "poster boys" for the steroids era, who project to make big jumps to the 65 percent range, raising the possibilty of election in the near term.
Here is my ballot, followed by some thoughts on players I did and didn't vote for:
Jeff Bagwell Barry Bonds Roger Clemens Trevor Hoffman Fred McGriff Tim Raines Ivan Rodriguez Gary Sheffield Lee Smith
x-Jeff Bagwell Complete player with seven 100-run/100-RBI seasons, MVP award (plus five other top-10 finishes), Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove. …
The Rays have 25 of their top prospects - including RHP Brent Honeywell and INFs Willy Adames and Daniel Robertson - at the Trop this week for the 8th annual winter development camp. Here is a video report from photographer Will Vragovic.
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