Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Maddon eager for full squad

PORT CHARLOTTE — The temperatures are expected to be chilly but the greetings warm this morning when the Rays hold their first full-squad workout.

"It's always great to get everybody out there," manager Joe Maddon said. "There's a lot of new faces, a lot of different things going on."

Maddon said he was pleased with the first four days of pitcher/catcher workouts, noticing — after a prompt from LHP David Price — the benefit of having the same group of catchers as last spring given the emphasis the Rays put on communication.

"You have the same catchers talking to a lot of the same pitchers, which makes it somewhat easier," he said. "They've been through this over the last year. So that's kind of different for us."

As part of his welcoming greeting, Maddon will stress the Rays' plans for a slow pace given the additional week of camp as a result of the World Baseball Classic.

"With the extra time, just build into it," he said. "Don't try to go nuts too soon."

Maddon said he expected all 65 players to be on hand. The only three who didn't report early were SS Yunel Escobar, minor-league INF Hak-Ju Lee and DH Luke Scott.

BOSS TALK: Asked on 620-AM radio during Saturday's FanFest how the stadium stalemate ends, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said: "We're staying in Tampa Bay. We're not going anywhere. I've always been clear about that, I want to remain clear about that. We'll figure out a way to get something done."

Sternberg also said Price "has got at least three more seasons with us" and they'd be open to a contract extension but it "has got to be something that works for both sides"; that whether prospect OF Wil Myers opens the season in the majors is up to executive VP Andrew Friedman; and that season ticket sales are about the same as last year.

CHECKING IN: RHP Dane De La Rosa said he was glad to finally be in camp after spending five days in limbo between being designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A Durham after clearing waivers, then delayed a few more days to get shipping of his car rescheduled.

De La Rosa said he wasn't that surprised to be dropped from the 40-man roster and "didn't take it personally at all." The worst part of the experience, he said, was waiting at home in California: "That's the hardest thing when you know everyone else is there already."

1B/OF Shelley Duncan also reported, saying he was excited to join the Rays (on a minor-league deal) and didn't make much of his villainous role on the Yankees side of the now infamous 2008 spring dust-up. "I didn't know what anyone thought of it," he said.

PRICE IS RIGHT: Price is hosting a second Bowl For Kids' Sake fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters, the group that provides adult mentors to Tampa Bay area children facing adversity. The top 30 fundraisers (with a minimum of $1,000 in donations) are eligible to attend Price's VIP bowling party on March 29. To join, see the bbbsfl.org or call Amy Hollington at 813-769-3636.

MISCELLANY: RHP Joel Peralta's stiff neck improved enough for him to play long toss, and he could throw his first bullpen today. He still had not spoken with Dominican officials to make official his withdrawal from the WBC. … There were the usual big crowds for the free FanFest at the Trop.

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