Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Blue Jays rumored favorite for Ervin Santana

DUNEDIN — The Blue Jays are favored to land Ervin Santana, the top remaining free agent starting pitcher, multiple media outlets reported Saturday.

ESPN first reported that Santana, who was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA for the Royals last season, was offered a one-year, $14 million contract by Toronto. However, the report said the 31-year-old right-hander was holding off on signing with the hope of getting a better deal from another team.

Blue Jays officials did not comment on any of the reports.

GAME DETAILS: RF Jose Bautista hit his third spring homer in Toronto's 4-3 victory over the Twins. RHP Drew Hutchison allowed two runs and struck out five in three innings.

Yanks: Long wait ends

KISSIMMEE — It was not the kind of return to the mound Manny Banuelos envisioned. But the left-hander still preferred that to the alternative: not being able to get out there at all.

And Banuelos experienced plenty of that the past two years.

"I'm very happy," he said after allowing three runs and two hits in two-thirds of an inning Saturday in the Yankees' 9-6 victory over the Astros at Osceola County Stadium. "The (result) wasn't like I wanted but the best thing is, I feel healthy and I felt very strong that inning."

Making his first appearance in game action since May 18, 2012, the one-time top prospect allowed the first three batters in the fifth inning to reach, culminating in Chris Carter's three-run homer. He struck out George Springer and retired Jesus Guzman on a grounder to third before being pulled.

GAME DETAILS: Former Ray Kelly Johnson homered after Mark Teixeira's first hit of the spring. Teixeira was playing in his second spring game after missing most of last season because of wrist surgery.

Phillies: Outfield thin

CLEARWATER — The Phillies' quest for outfield depth spawned a morning conversation with INF Freddy Galvis. Had he ever played centerfield? "Nope," he said, yet that is where he stood Saturday afternoon.

"They just told me to go out a little bit in centerfield," Galvis said, "take some balls and play today."

The dearth of outfield options is troubling. What happens if Domonic Brown, Ben Revere, or Marlon Byrd is injured for a prolonged period?

"We're going to have to look," GM Ruben Amaro said.

Bobby Abreu is viewed as a pinch-hitter first and outfielder second. The Phillies like Darin Ruf's bat but harbor doubts about his defense. They added Tony Gwynn and Clete Thomas on minor-league deals. Gwynn, 31, could not crack the majors in 2013. Thomas, 30, is a career .233 hitter.

"We lack in our outfield depth as much as anything," Amaro said. "We were looking to try to add some depth there, but we haven't been able to find it. We are hopeful some of the guys here in camp will be able to create some for us."

Comments
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Published: 12/16/17
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17