Morning-after items on Rays latest moves
Some morning-after items following the Rays busy Thursday:
• New Rays OF Corey Dickerson is billed as a quiet, Southern guy who loves to play baseball and is very competitive. He came across that way in a brief phone conversation from his Mississippi home late Thursday with the Times, saying he was surprised to be traded but excited to be joining the Rays.
"I enjoy winning and I'm a very competitve person and that's something I'll definitely bring to the table every day is my competitiveness and my will to win,'' he said.
Limited to 65 games due to plantar fasciitis and broken ribs, Dickerson said he is fully healthy and ready to go full bore for 2016, and that being forced to sit out last year made him even stronger mentally.
He doesn't have much connection with the Rays, having worked out once with OF Mikie Mahtook when they were post high school draft candidates, and having met OF Kevin Kiermaier at an event for winners of the Heart & Hustle awards.
• Steve Pearce, who grew up and lives in Lakeland, took to Twitter to make it clear just how excited he was to join the Rays:
So pumped for the opportunity to help bring a championship to my home state of FL as a member of the 2016 Tampa Bay Rays!— Steve Pearce (@WayneTwentyOcho) January 29, 2016
He also thanked the Orioles:
While I am looking forward to the new challenge, I will forever remember my years in Baltimore with such great teammates, ownership,— Steve Pearce (@WayneTwentyOcho) January 29, 2016
front office personal, members of the media, and especially, the tremendous fans! Thank you to all of you! My family enjoyed every moment!— Steve Pearce (@WayneTwentyOcho) January 29, 2016
• LHP Jake McGee was definitely sad to be leaving the Rays, but knew it was going to happen eventually and was truly happy to stick around for nearly 12 years.
"I was really fortunate to be with the Rays that long,'' McGee said.
Based on research by Rays PR ace Craig Vanderkam, McGee had what appeared to be the second longest stint in the organization for a player - 11 years, 7 months and 20 days from when he signed as a 2004 draft pick until he was traded.
The only player with a longer stint was RHP James Shields, who had 12 years, 3 months and 29 days from when he signed in 2000 until being traded in December 2012. OF Carl Crawford was a close third, with 11 years, 4 months and 16 days from when he signed in 1999 until he joined the Red Sox in December 2010.
• Baseball operations president Matt Silverman said the two keys to the trade with Colorado were adding Dickerson's potent bat for four years (whereas they only had McGee for two and were likely to trade him during that time), and increasing their depth and options to the point where no matter what happens in spring training they feel they are covered and have capable replacements.
• Though the Rays saved McGee's $4.8-million salary, they spent $4.75-million to sign Pearce. That was a pretty much a wash, and doesn't really impact their already unlikely chances to sign free-agent SS Ian Desmond.