Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

2015 Rays winter meetings primer


• Acquired RH reliever Danny Farquhar, INF Brad Miller and DH/1B/OF Logan Morrison from Mariners for RHP Nathan Karns, LH reliever C.J. Riefenhauser and minor-league OF Boog Powell

• Sent RH reliever Kirby Yates to Indians for undisclosed cash considerations

• Acquired C Hank Conger from Astros for undisclosed cash considerations

Impact: Miller is the leading candidate to be the starting SS, Morrison looks to be the primary DH (unless 1B James Loney is traded and he moves there), Farquhar will compete for a spot in the bullpen. Karns was sixth on the depth chart among starters, Riefenhauser (since traded to Baltimore) and Powell were ticketed for Triple A. … Yates had been designated for assignment and was going to be released, so whatever they got was a bonus. … Conger will compete with Rene Rivera to be the backup to Curt Casali.


• RHP Chase Whitley, claimed off waivers from Yankees

• RHP Jacob Faria, RHP Taylor Guerrieri, RHP German Marquez, INF/OF Taylor Motter, LHP Blake Snell, promoted to 40-man roster

Impact: None of the pitchers will likely be of help at the start of the season. Snell is close, though, and may need only a short stint in the minors to limit his innings — and potential free agent eligibility — before being called up. Faria, Guerrieri and Marquez have yet to pitch above Double A but could be late-season help. Whitley, who has pitched parts of two seasons in the majors, is recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery and eyeing an August return. Motter, MVP at Triple-A Durham, will compete for a bench job.


• SS Asdrubal Cabrera, DH/OF John Jaso and OF/DH Grady Sizemore became free agents

• C J.P. Arencibia, LH reliever Jeff Beliveau, INF Jake Elmore, RH reliever Brandon Gomes, OF Daniel Nava were all taken off the roster and became free agents

Impact: Cabrera is a big loss, but the Rays expected it after signing him to a one-year deal. Otherwise, not so much. Gomes pitched in 63 games last season, 173 over the past five. Letting Arencibia go and keeping Rene Rivera was somewhat interesting.

How they're looking

Barring any changes or injury issues, the Rays roster seems relatively set, pending whether they will carry seven or eight relievers. But as of now, it could look like this, with the primary competition for bench spots and bullpen jobs, where they are likely to bring in a couple veteran relievers on minor-league deals to compete:

LF Desmond Jennings

CF Kevin Kiermaier

RF Steven Souza Jr.

3B Evan Longoria

SS Brad Miller

2B Logan Forsythe

1B James Loney

C Curt Casali

DH Logan Morrison

Bench: OF Brandon Guyer; C Hank Conger or Rene Rivera; INF Tim Beckham and/or Nick Franklin and/or INF/OF Taylor Motter; possibly INF/OF Richie Shaffer or OF Mikie Mahtook or lefty-hitting OF TBA

Starters: RH Chris Archer, LH Matt Moore, RH Jake Odorizzi, LH Drew Smyly, RH Erasmo Ramirez

Relievers: RHs Brad Boxberger, Alex Colome, Steve Geltz, Danny Farquhar and/or Andrew Bellatti or veterans TBA; LHs Jake McGee, Xavier Cedeno, Enny Romero

What they're looking for

With the Rays not having a defined list of needs, it's hard to specify targets. Young, cost-controllable impact hitters would be at the top of their list, and there are some teams that have them and need pitching, especially the Cubs, who could deal Jorge Soler or Javier Baez or Starlin Castro. Others who could be available include OF Marcell Ozuna (Marlins) or, less likely, someone like OF Joc Pederson (Dodgers). And there are teams that have more proven (read: expensive) hitters to move, but for the Rays to engage they would have to cover a chunk of the cost, such as Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) or Hanley Ramirez (Red Sox) or Todd Frazier/Jay Bruce (Reds). Though sluggers Pedro Alvarez and Chris Carter are non-tendered free agents, they don't fit unless the Rays make a trade to open at-bats.

Around the majors

Even with LHP David Price getting a record $217 million over seven years from Boston, RHP Zack Greinke $206.5 million over six from Arizona and RHP Jordan Zimmermann $100 million over five from Detroit, many of the top free agents are still on the market. Here's a list of the biggest names still looking for work, with their previous team:


1B Chris Davis, Orioles

OF Jason Heyward, Cardinals

OF Justin Upton, Padres

OF Yoenis Cespedes, Mets

OF Alex Gordon, Royals

INF/OF Ben Zobrist, Royals

INF Daniel Murphy, Mets

INF Ian Desmond, Nats

OF Dexter Fowler, Cubs

OF Denard Span, Nats


RH Johnny Cueto, Royals

RH Darren O'Day, Orioles

LH Scott Kazmir, Astros

LH Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles

RH Mike Leake, Giants

And these 2015 Rays

C J.P. Arencibia

LH Jeff Beliveau

SS Asdrubal Cabrera

RH Brandon Gomes

DH/OF John Jaso

OF Daniel Nava

OF/DH Grady Sizemore

Players who could be traded

RHP Carlos Carrasco, Indians

LH Aroldis Chapman, Reds

LH Andrew Miller, Yankees

RH Shelby Miller, Braves

OF Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

RHP James Shields, Padres

Rays rumblings

Gold Glove winning Kevin Kiermaier was only seventh on ESPN's Buster Olney's list of top centerfielders. … Marketing whiz Jeff Cogen officially started work as chief business officer. … MLB officials are making a mid December goodwill trip to Cuba which seems to bode well for the Rays' spring exhibition visit being approved. … Clever of LHP David Price at his introductory Boston news conference to jokingly be vague in referencing his 2008 ALCS Game 7 win over the Red Sox. And right on to say, "I'm 30 years old, but I'm 8 years old at heart.'' … RHP Chris Archer went to Curacao last week to help out with some Baseball Week youth clinics. … RHP prospect Taylor Guerrieri has been working out near Jupiter with new DH/1B/OF Logan Morrison, raving about his size and strength: "I've never seen somebody so wide. And it's all muscle." … Ex- Ray/Seminole HS product 1B Casey Kotchman signed a minor-league deal with Toronto. … Juan Nieves was set to return to the Rays as a minor-league coordinator until being hired as the Marlins pitching coach.

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...
Updated: 4 hours ago
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