Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays don't expect major moves before trade deadline

NEW YORK — Though there hasn't been much talk about them, the Rays have been having numerous conversations about possible moves — specifically to improve their depth — before Wednesday's 4 p.m. deadline for nonwaiver trades.

But the chance of any type of big deal seems slim.

"We are always looking to improve, and between now and Wednesday, we're going to do everything we can to do that," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Saturday. "But I can't overstate our confidence in the team that we have. This is a tremendous group of guys, and the worst thing we can do is to feel pressure to make a move just for its own sake."

With 62 wins, tied for most in the majors, they don't appear to need much.

The pitching staff has been doing extremely well and has reinforcements, with RHP Alex Cobb expected back by mid August to further bolster the rotation and RHP Brandon Gomes plus several pitchers at Triple-A Durham able to boost the bullpen. Manager Joe Maddon has a hard enough time getting the position players he has in the lineup, though the Rays are a bit thin on experienced players at Triple A.

Friedman and his staff will look at many scenarios over the next few days.

"In our situation, we always have to keep one eye on the future. Our goal is to sustain success year in and year out, and that's always on our minds as we look at the market," he said. "But we don't take lightly where we are in the standings, and we're certainly focused on winning the AL East. So if something lines up, we will be aggressive to do something that furthers that pursuit."

HIT MEN: DH Luke Scott was not in the lineup for the 1-0 win over the Yankees due to stiffness in his back, but he said after the game he felt fine and would be available today. Maddon's pick to replace him was Kelly Johnson over Sean Rodriguez, who had better numbers vs. Yankees starter Ivan Nova, and it worked. Johnson drove in the run. … 3B Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to nine games and OF Wil Myers his to eight, though his run of multihit games ended at seven.

REHAB REPORT: The blister on Cobb's right index finger is not healed enough for him to pitch in a game, delaying his next rehabilitation start until at least Tuesday. … The Rays are deciding on the next step for Gomes, who is close to returning from a lat strain that has sidelined him since early May.

MISCELLANY: The Rays have won nine straight series, matching their franchise best. … Saturday was their sixth shutout in July and 13th overall, matching the Pirates for the majors' most. … The Rays are 18-19 in 1-0 games. … Maddon was excited about the birth of his fourth grandchild, and second grandson, Giuseppe Ennio Maddon, late Friday in Arizona. … Hideki Matsui finished his career with the Rays but will sign a one-day contract and retire as a Yankee today, with bobblehead and first-pitch honors. … LHP Matt Moore, 24, today can become the youngest pitcher to reach 15 wins before Aug. 1 since RHP Greg Maddux with the Cubs in 1988. … Pitchers took batting practice to prepare for the Aug. 6-11 visits to the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

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