Rays' Cash: 'We expect to be playing games in October'
The Rays' reconstruction of their roster after a 68-win season has gotten mixed reviews, but manager Kevin Cash made it very clear at Monday's spring training opening press conference he feels they did enough to get back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
"We expect to be playing games in October.,'' Cash said. "That's the goal. We're confident with what we've done this off-season. We're confident with the core guys we had finishing the year. ... We're optimistic with our pitchers, with our position core. These guys are coming in, you're going to see, just talking to them this off-season, there's a lot of guys in that clubhouse that take a lot of pride in not only their personal performances but the performance of the team.''
Among other notable comments and info from Rays pre-spring media session with Cash and senior VPs Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander:
Cash says, as expected, there has been no decisions on 2B, will look at Miller among others. Mentions Beckham, Franklin, Robertson
Neander says key to offseason was increasing "level of depth and level of competition."
Cash says it's obvious how much a healthy Cobb can mean to rotation
Bloom says past drafts have been mixed but they feel good and are coming to camp "with a team that can compete."
Cash says they are "cautiously optimistic" Archer and Colome will handle WBC work / scheduling properly
Cash clearly confident: "We expect to be playing games in October. That's the goal."
Bloom says SS Matt Duffy (heel surgery) should be good to go; OF Steven Souza Jr. (hip), 1B Logan Morrison (wrist), OF Colby Rasmus (hip, core muscle) should be ready Opening Day or soon after. C Wilson Ramos (knee) obviously later no date yet.
Cash says veteran non-roster INF/OF Rickie Weeks is being counted on to be a "pretty big bat vs. left handed pitching.
Team officials had nothing to say just yet on the signing of RHP Nathan Eovaldi, whom the Times reported Sunday was close to a deal with a 2018 option. Eovaldi will go on the 60-day DL once signed, though the Rays first have to make room on the 40-man roster.