Thursday, October 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

How Ohtani, Stanton deals could impact Rays’ offseason plans

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays, like much of baseball, are waiting for the white smoke, for Shohei Ohtani to pick where he is signing and for Giancarlo Stanton to decide on accepting a trade to the Cardinals, Giants or whatever other team might be involved secretly, so the rest of the offseason can get started.

"At some point here I think the dam is going to break,’’ Rays GM Erik Neander said Thursday, advancing next week’s winter meetings.

How those high-profile decisions play out could have a big impact on what moves the Rays make, specifically whether they trade some big names such as third baseman Evan Longoria, starter Chris Archer or closer Alex Colome.

Though disappointed not to get Ohtani, the Rays could end up engaged with some of the six finalists who miss out, especially those — such as, for example, the Cubs — who were looking for Ohtani to take a spot in their rotation, and now might be more aggressive on Archer or Jake Odorizzi.

Even more relevant, Stanton’s choice could lead to increased interest in Longoria, especially if he opts not to go to St. Louis. Having already talked to the Rays about Colome and the starters, the prospect-rich Cardinals are positioned to "shift or expand" those discussion to include Longoria, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. And once the hitters’ market opens, other teams could see the $86 million remaining on Longoria’s contract more appealing than signing a free agent.

What the Rays hear from those other teams — on Longoria, on Archer, on a half-dozen other veterans with substantial salaries — could dictate their course of action.

"We’re going to keep as open of a mind as possible," Neander said. "I think we have a lot of different plans laid out that, depending on kind of the way the market unfolds and how things progress, will dictate our path."

Acknowledging the task of trying to improve an 80-win team and reduce payroll is "incredibly challenging" task, the Rays could end up headed toward different extremes:

• Trading Longoria, Archer, Colome and several other big bucks players (Wilson Ramos, Odorizzi, Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier, Adeiny Hechavarria, Brad Miller) in taking a step back and rebuilding to complement the young players coming through their system.

• Dealing just a couple of the more easily replaceable veterans (say Odorizzi and Dickerson, though probably Colome as well) and finding creative ways to add to a team that fell five games shy of an AL wild-card spot, starting with somewhat glaring holes at first base and in the bullpen.

"We have to be open," Neander said. "We have to be considering anything and everything. A lot of that depends on where there’s interest and what we believe is in the best interest of our club."

Comments
Rays’ Rocco Baldelli reportedly a finalist for Toronto job

Rays’ Rocco Baldelli reportedly a finalist for Toronto job

Rays coach Rocco Baldelli is one of five finalists for the Blue Jays manager's job, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reported.Three other finalists were said to be Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Giants farm director David Bell and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde...
Published: 10/16/18
Rays sending 4 trucks of supplies to hurricane-ravaged area

Rays sending 4 trucks of supplies to hurricane-ravaged area

The Rays will send four trucks of donated water, food and supplies to Bay County on Wednesday morning to help those affected by Hurricane Michael.About 20 staffers are making what will be a 36-hour trip to the Florida Panhandle as they deliver and di...
Published: 10/16/18
Rays make first 2019 signing, add LHP Ryan Sherriff

Rays make first 2019 signing, add LHP Ryan Sherriff

The Rays made their first move of the off-season, signing LHP Ryan Sherriff to a minor-league deal.Sherriff, 28, is recovering from June Tommy John elbow surgery so at best would be a late-season addition to the big-league roster.He has pitched parts...
Published: 10/16/18
Rays’ Rocco Baldelli interviews with Rangers

Rays’ Rocco Baldelli interviews with Rangers

Interest in Rays coach Rocco Baldelli as a manager continues to grow, as he interviewed for another opening on Monday, this time with the Texas Rangers.Baldelli, 37, has also interviewed with the Reds, and reportedly with the Twins. The Angels and Bl...
Published: 10/15/18
David Price finally leads Red Sox to a postseason victory. Sort of

David Price finally leads Red Sox to a postseason victory. Sort of

BOSTON — According to standard baseball measurements, David Price did not pitch well on Sunday night. The former Ray gave up four runs in fewer than five innings, handed back a lead that his Boston Red Sox teammates had given him in the first inning ...
Published: 10/15/18
Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

They won't win the World Series. And they didn't even make the playoffs.Yet, the Rays were baseball's "most consequential baseball team" this season, according to Sports Illustrated.The opener strategy first employed by the Rays presents "the biggest...
Published: 10/15/18
Add Reds to teams Rays’ Rocco Baldelli has talked with

Add Reds to teams Rays’ Rocco Baldelli has talked with

We told you in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times that Rays coach Rocco Baldelli was a "hot name" for the six current managerial openings, and had already been connected with the Blue Jays, Rangers and Twins.There was word Sunday morning of formal contact with...
Published: 10/14/18
Rays Tales: Is moving on from C.J. Cron the right move?

Rays Tales: Is moving on from C.J. Cron the right move?

ST. PETERSBURG —The Rays' primary target this offseason seems to be adding a right-handed impact bat.And to do so, they are likely to get rid of the one they have, 30-homer hitting 1B/DH C.J. Cron.Why?In short, to try to upgrade. And gain some ...
Published: 10/13/18
Updated: 10/15/18
Rays collecting donations for Hurricane Michael relief

Rays collecting donations for Hurricane Michael relief

The Rays are collecting donations to help those in the Panhandle affected by Hurricane Michael.You can donate from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday at the Tropicana Field Gate 4 dropoff circle at 16th Street near Fifth Avenue S in St. Pe...
Published: 10/13/18
Michelle Margaux leaving Rays TV broadcasts, heading to Houston

Michelle Margaux leaving Rays TV broadcasts, heading to Houston

Michelle Margaux is leaving Fox Sports Sun after one season as the reporter on Rays broadcasts and heading Houston to cover the NBA Rockets as the in-game reporter for AT&T SportsNet.Margaux will also have some hosting duties and work some Astros gam...
Published: 10/10/18