Monday, October 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Winter meetings journal: Rays add more infield depth, claim it isn’t prelude to a trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays on Tuesday adding their third infielder in the past two weeks would sure look like a precursor to trading front-liners such as 3B Evan Longoria or 2B Brad Miller.

But GM Erik Neander insisted that was not the case and that the trade to get former Padres starting 3B Ryan Schimpf, like previous pickups of Micah Johnson (off waivers) and Joey Wendle (who had been DFA’d), was the unrelated combination of interest and circumstance.

"Just a matter of opportunity," Neander said. "They were all price points that we thought made sense. These are guys that have had, frankly, limited major-league opportunity that we’ve liked for some time and you never know in a fresh start, fresh environment, fresh place, where things might go from there.

"With our roster being where it is, some of our needs for our position player group filling out a major-league club, it’s just something we thought made sense for us. These are each guys individually that can do some different things."

Schimpf, 29, can hit home runs, 34 in 142 games over parts of two seasons in San Diego, his 12.97 AB/HR ratio (minimum 500 plate appearances) ranking behind only ex-Marlin Giancarlo Stanton (11.74) and the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger. But Schimpf also can strike out, 175 times in 527 plate appearances, while posting a .195 career average.

Schimpf is a lefty swinger (like Johnson and Wendle) who can play second, third and the corner outfield spots and has a minor-league option. The Rays gave up INF Deion Tansel, a 2016 32nd-round pick who spent 2017 with short-season Class A Hudson Valley.

Talking a good game

The Rays had extensive discussions on potential trades and free-agent signings, but Neander said "nothing to report, nothing that’s particularly close to this point, but those are ongoing, they’re active, trying to do everything we can to improve our organization." They have undisclosed offers for closer Alex Colome, with the Cubs, Cardinals, Mets and Rockies (despite signing Brian Shaw on Tuesday) in hottest pursuit. There is also a high volume of interest in RHP Chris Archer, with the Rockies joining the Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs and Twins atop the list.

Miscellany

• The only big deal of the day was the Yankees cutting payroll by sending 3B Chase Headley and RHP Bryan Mitchell to the Padres for OF Jabari Blash. The bigger news was that the Orioles are discussing offers for star INF Manny Machado. The Cardinals, Phillies, White Sox and Yankees are among many said to be interested.

• Principal owner Stuart Sternberg joined Rays officials at the meetings, as did most of the big-league coaching staff, in part to attend Tuesday’s annual dinner with reps of their minor-league affiliates.

• Ex-Rays updates: RHP Tommy Hunter was reportedly close to a two-year deal with the Phillies, who initially were said to be close to signing RHP Addison Reed. … The Cubs signed LHP Drew Smyly to a two-year deal. He’ll miss most or all of 2018 after having Tommy John surgery. … Luke Scott, in great shape at 39, is at least talking about playing again, last in the majors in 2013, anywhere in 2015. … RHP Alex Cobb is said to be looking for a four-year deal; some teams have thus far offered only three. … Former pitching coach Jim Hickey’s deal with the Cubs is for three years.

Comments
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 ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
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...
Updated: 6 hours ago
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 ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
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
Rays VP Chaim Bloom interviews for Mets GM job

Rays VP Chaim Bloom interviews for Mets GM job

Rays senior VP Chaim Bloom is expected to be a candidate for several GM-level job this winter, and he reportedly had his first interview Wednesday, talking with Mets officials about their vacancy.The New York Post's Mike Puma reported Wednesday that ...
Published: 10/10/18
What they’re saying about Kevin Cash’s new deal with Rays

What they’re saying about Kevin Cash’s new deal with Rays

Reaction to Kevin Cash's contract extension that has him signed with the Rays through 2024, with a one-year option: Rays veteran CF Kevin Kiermaier:"Today is a great day for the Tampa Bay Rays organization extending Kevin Cash. We all know what he br...
Published: 10/10/18
Rick Stroud-Tom Jones debate: Will Rays win AL East during Kevin Cash’s tenure?

Rick Stroud-Tom Jones debate: Will Rays win AL East during Kevin Cash’s tenure?

Will the Rays win an American League East title under manager Kevin Cash, who on Tuesday had his contract extended through 2024?Times sports columnist Tom Jones and staff writer Rick Stroud debated the topic on Bay News 9's Spectrum Sports 360 show."...
Published: 10/10/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rick Stroud, Tom Jones on Kevin Cash’s contract

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rick Stroud, Tom Jones on Kevin Cash’s contract

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss the new deal that will keep Kevin Cash as the Rays skipper through at least 2024.Plus, which college football hires this year have been best? What are the expectations for Bucs quarterback...
Published: 10/10/18