Lobbying report: Tuesday at baseball's winter meetings
It's the most wonderful time of the year - if you like rumors, speculation, jumped-to conclusions and, undoubtedly, some outright fabrications about your baseball team and favorite players. That being said, we'll filter as best we can and present some of the chatter we're hearing in the hallways, media room and, of course, the late-night lobby during this week's winter meetings. Though there are high expectations for lots of action, be warned that the running joke has been that since the meetings are being held just outside Washington, D.C. that nothing likely will get done here:
* The Rays typically prefer to stay out of the headlines and rumor mills, so the lack of much chatter during the day Monday was not a suprose, and likely by design. But I also wonder if the intense level of discussion about White Sox ace LHP Chris Sale, primarily it seems with the Nationals, is impacting the market for starters overall. Not so much that RHP Chris Archer or RHP Jake Odorizzi is considered on even par with Sale, but that teams interested in Sale, and teams waiting to see who gets Sale, may be focused more on that.
* There doesn't seem to be a clear leader for C Wellington Castillo, in whom the Rays have strong interest.
* Wrote a bit today about the benefits of the Rays waiting for the market for hitters to get sorted out, as the glut of OF/1B/DH types could work to their benefit if they are patient.
* Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan tweeted a logical point today that supports our feeling all along that the Rays were unlikely to deal RHP Chris Archer because a team wouldn't meet their price:
Here's the calculus for Rays on Chris Archer: Would they get any more now than, say, two years from now? Probably not. Thus, tough to deal.
* Passan is also hearing that interest in Rays other starters, specifically Drew Smyly and, somewhat surprisingly, Alex Cobb, has been strong. Cobb made only six starts last September after his return from May 2015 Tommy John surgery.
* There was news of one Rays signing, as radio man Andy Freed agreed to a new 3-year deal that will keep him behing the mic through 2019.
* Longtime writer Claire Smith was voted winner of the BBWAA's Taylor Spink award, the first woman to win, and will be honord at the July Hall of Fame induction.
* The Yankees announced plans to retire Derek Jeter's No. 2 during a May 14 game, the only surprise being it will be against the Astros rather than the Rays, who seem to be the guests for many of the big events at Yankee Stadium.
* Former Rays LH reliever C.J, Riefenhauser signed a minor-league deal with the Astros. He was traded to the Mariners and then the Orioles last year, and spent part of the season pitching for the Cubs Triple-A team.