Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Commissioner optimistic about Rays' stadium situation

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks with reporters after the groundbreaking ceremony for the future home of the of Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals spring training facility on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Mitchell) FLSM110

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks with reporters after the groundbreaking ceremony for the future home of the of Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals spring training facility on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Mitchell) FLSM110

BOCA RATON — The optimism that the recent St. Petersburg City Council election will lead to progress in the Rays' stadium situation has reached MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who further expressed his support for the Tampa Bay market.

"I believe that Tampa-St. Pete is a viable major-league market with the right facility," Manfred said Tuesday at the GM meetings.

The change in Council as a result of the election is expected to lead to a January deal to allow the Rays to look for sites throughout the Tampa Bay market. Manfred said Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg remains confident they can find a solution.

"I've said this before, and it is not a dodge in this particular case, my views with respect to the situation in Tampa are largely derivative of Mr. Sternberg's views," Manfred said. "He is a very thoughtful and effective individual. He remains optimistic as a result of the factor you point to as well as others that something can be accomplished in Tampa-St. Pete."

TRADE TALK: Though baseball operations president Matt Silverman said they would "be in good shape" if they didn't make another move going into spring training after adding SS Brad Miller and DH/1B/OF Logan Morrison, Rays officials had a busy first couple of days talking about potential deals.

"Conversations are maturing," Silverman said, without providing details. "The meetings facilitate deeper discussion and freer exploration."

Chatter around the meetings is that, as expected, there is considerable interest in their late-inning relievers, RHP Brad Boxberger and LHP Jake McGee, though it would take a large return for the Rays to move either. … There seems to be some initial interest in 1B James Loney, though the Rays might need to eat some of the $8 million owed to move him, which would open space in the lineup for Richie Shaffer and flexibility with Morrison. … With Miller aboard, the Rays are not actively pursuing any of the free-agent shortstops, such as Alexei Ramirez.

HOLA, CUBA? The Rays definitely would be interested in playing in Cuba in March if an MLB plan for spring exhibitions goes through, Silverman said.

Manfred said they are working through government channels and other issues to make it happen. "The answer to that is I hope so," he said. "I'm still committed to the idea that it would be a good thing for baseball to be able to play in Cuba next spring."

Manfred said there was no hard deadline and MLB would proceed internally, going as far as picking the team(s) that would go, to limit logistical issues.

On other topics, Manfred said they are continuing discussions on player safety issues regarding slides into second base and fan safety related to expanding areas covered by netting at stadiums. Manfred also said he thinks the current qualifying offer system is effective even though no players have accepted.

MINOR MATTERS: SS Hak-Ju Lee is among 17 minor-leaguers who played for the Rays last season and are now free agents. Lee, originally the centerpiece of the return in the January 2011 Matt Garza trade (since surpassed by Chris Archer), was dropped from the 40-man roster in September anyway.

LHP Jeff Beliveau and INF Jake Elmore, who were outrighted off the roster last week, are free agents along with RHPs Jose Dominguez, Ely Echarry, Bradin Hagens, Matt Lollis, Jhan Marinez and Jim Miller (AAA); LHPs Scott Diamond and Robert Zarate; Cs Mayo Acosta and Wilmer Dominguez; INFs Hector Guevara and Leonardo Reginatto; and OFs Corey Brown and Jose Constanza.

MANAGER CANDIDATE: Former Rays/current Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez arrived at the meetings hotel to interview for the Dodgers manager job.

Commissioner optimistic about Rays' stadium situation 11/10/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.