Monday, May 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

MLB Network ranks Rays' Kiermaier surprisingly low among MLB centerfielders

PORT CHARLOTTE — CF Kevin Kiermaier is considered by many the best defensive centerfielder in the game and has a pair of Gold Gloves to prove it, plus an improving offensive portfolio.

But he was ranked only the ninth best centerfielder in the game by MLB Network, which takes "into account player performance over several seasons with an emphasis on 2016, a number of offensive and defensive metrics both advanced and traditional, and projected performance for the upcoming season."

Kiermaier, who missed two months with a broken hand, hit .246-12-37, with a .741 OPS.

The Network rankings looked more favorably on new Rays C Wilson Ramos, the free-agent addition from Washington who is recovering from knee surgery.

Ramos was ranked fourth, behind Buster Posey (Giants), Jonathan Lucroy (Rangers) and Yasmani Grandal (Dodgers) and ahead of stars such as 5. Russell Martin (Blue Jays), 6. Yadier Molina (Cardinals) and 9. Salvador Perez (Royals).

Odorizzi vs. Rays

RHP Jake Odorizzi sat in on his three-hour arbitration hearing Tuesday at a St. Petersburg hotel, listening to an outside attorney repping the team say why he was only worth the $3.825 million they offered and agent Jason Wood argue for the $4.1 million he requested. Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman was there, too. A ruling is expected today.

Roll call

39 of the 41 rostered pitchers and catchers were in camp. Besides Odorizzi, the other absentee was Ramos. The free-agent addition has been rehabbing from knee surgery in south Florida, and is expected by Wednesday, with Rays officials not too concerned.

New faces

A contact with rehabbing RHP Nathan Eovaldi could be finalized as soon as today. The Rays have to drop or trade someone to make room on the 40-man roster, then can Eovaldi and move him to the 60-day DL and will then have an open spot. The Rays also are talking with free-agent RHP Tommy Hunter and C Matt Wieters.

Quote of the day

"I pulled up before the clubbies were here and had to leave because the doors were locked."

RHP Jake Faria, who was scolded last spring by RHP Chris Archer for not being early enough to camp.

Spring things

. An unexpected Monday visitor was Todd Kalas, who left the Rays TV broadcast team after 19 seasons for the chance to be the play-by-play man for the Astros and wanted to say some goodbyes.

. With a longer camp, some Rays pitchers will get an extra third day between mound sessions. Among those slated to throw today are Cobb, Odorizzi and LHPs Blake Snell and Xavier Cedeno.

Better than Outlaw?

Per the MLB Network's "Top 10 Center Fielders Right Now!" show, these are the centerfielders considered better than Kiermaier, with 2016 offensive totals:

1. Mike Trout, Angels .315-29-100, .991 OPS

2. Christian Yelich, Marlins .298-21-98, .859

3. George Springer, Astros .261-29-81, .815

4. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox .267-26-87, .835

5. A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks* .315-20-76, .865

6. Adam Eaton, Nationals .284-14-59, .790

7. Lorenzo Cain, Royals .287-9-56, .747

8. Charlie Blackmon, Rockies .324-29-82, .933

* 2015 stats; missed most of 2016 with an injury

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