Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Friedman preparing for busy offseason

ST. PETERSBURG — The only thing Rays officials know for certain about next season's team is that it will look different from this year's.

With nine potential free agents and speculation that ace LHP David Price could be traded, executive VP Andrew Friedman said he anticipates their usual "decent amount of turnover."

Further complicating the situation, Friedman acknowledged that after finishing last in attendance, "it's safe to say we're not going to have a lot of headroom from a payroll perspective." The Rays opened this season at around $58 million, and most returning players will get raises.

Among the pending free agents, 1B James Loney and closer Fernando Rodney present two of the more interesting situations.

Both put up big numbers while making relatively low salaries this year, and though the Rays have interest in bringing both back at the right price, the demand from other teams likely will be the determining factor.

C Jose Molina also may be of interest (to pair again with Jose Lobaton), as well as DH Delmon Young and RH reliever Jamey Wright.

RH reliever Joel Peralta, who is "like brothers" with Rodney, said they have already talked about a possible return. "I know Fernando is willing to sacrifice maybe some money to come back," Peralta said. "Let's see what they offer, how many offers he gets on the market. … I think he's going to get a lot better offer somewhere else."

HELPING HANDS: Though manager Joe Maddon is signed through 2015, the contracts of the coaches are up Oct. 31. No formal discussions have been held, but Maddon said, "I anticipate they should be back."

Pitching coach Jim Hickey could be attractive to other teams as a coach or a manager. Bench coach Dave Martinez and third-base coach Tom Foley may get managerial interviews.

Hickey said he expects to return: "My contract has been up 10 other times, too, and it hasn't been very eventful, so I don't really anticipate much of a change."

WIL THE THRILL: Though he needs work on defensive technique, RF Wil Myers presented well in his first major-league action in terms of performance and makeup, Maddon said: "He should be rookie of the year, no question in my mind."

MISCELLANY: Peralta said he had trouble sleeping after Tuesday's ALDS Game 4 loss, as his wild pitch led to Boston taking the lead in the deciding game: "It was tough to swallow." … Friedman said the Rays can't force it but "to have more of a speed element (among the position players) would be ideal." … DH Luke Scott said it was tough not playing much down the stretch, but he tried to do what he could to help: "If I'm going to be a 35-year-old male cheerleader, so to speak, then I guess that's what I had to be. Just don't expect me to do cartwheels and handstands and wear a skirt." … After reaching the postseason for the first time in his 18 seasons, Wright, 38, said he is motivated to keep playing and hopes to stay with the Rays. … Maddon said fatigue from their eventful week may have been a factor in losing the first two ALDS games in Boston.

Staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

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