Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays deal prospects Shaffer, Motter to create room on 40-man roster

In making space to add eight up-and-coming players to their roster Friday, the Rays gave up on two previously promising prospects, trading 2012 first-round pick Richie Shaffer and Taylor Motter to Seattle for three thus far unheralded minor-leaguers.

To make further room, the Rays designated for assignment reliever Steve Geltz, who pitched his way back to the minors in a rough 2016 season, and released rehabbing lefty John Lamb, acquired recently from the Reds.

The eight players added to the roster, and thus protected from selection in the upcoming Rule 5 draft, included two top position prospects in Willy Adames and Daniel Robertson and six pitchers: Jose Alvarado, Chih-Wei Hu, Austin Pruitt, Jaime Schultz, Ryne Stanek and Hunter Wood.

"This is a big crew for us," senior VP Chaim Bloom said. "We felt it was important to make sure these guys were in the organization and we did not expose them to the Rule 5 because we think there is some real upside with all of them and some real chances to contribute."

Though Shaffer, 25, was in the majors during the past two seasons (hitting .213 with a .720 OPS), Bloom said the Rays had enough other talent ahead of and behind him at first, such as prospects Jake Bauers and Casey Gillaspie, that he didn't fit in for 2017.

"It just seemed like an area where we weren't going to have the opportunity for him given who else we have and the depth in those areas," he said.

Similarly, Bloom said with Adames and Robertson playing at Triple A, they wouldn't have had room for Motter, who had a disappointing 2016 debut on (hitting .188) and off the field.

Geltz had issues as well, allowing 11 homers in 262/3 innings.

Of the players acquired, pitcher Andrew Kittredge is most advanced, having reached Triple A in 2016, while pitcher Dylan Thompson was ranked Seattle's No. 22 prospect and first baseman Dalton Kelly has potential.

Also:

• The Rays are "right in the thick of things" for free agent catcher Jason Castro after making an initial offer, but agent Fred Wray said there is no timetable for a decision as they are "working through multiple offers and weighing options/opportunity." The Braves, Twins and White Sox are reported among teams interested in the former Astros All-Star, who hit .215 with a .660 OPS in 2014-16.

Comments
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...
Updated: 6 hours ago
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...
Updated: 7 hours ago
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...
Updated: 7 hours ago
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...
Updated: 8 hours ago
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 ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
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...
Updated: 12 hours ago
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
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17