ST. PETERSBURG — One subject of speculation for the offseason is whether the Rays will deal cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria before he gains the power of a de facto no-trade clause in April with 10 years in the majors and five with the same team.
One person not worried about that is Longoria.
"My plan is to be here next year," he said. "It's really out of my hands. There's nothing I would do any differently. It doesn't change anything for me.
"I want to win here, that's the bottom line. Barring anything unforeseen, I'll be here next year. There's not much doubt in my mind."
Trading Longoria would be a monumental decision given the mutual commitment he and the Rays have made in doing two long-term deals that have made him the face of the franchise. It also would be a major undertaking to identify the proper return for Longoria, who turns 32 next week and has at least five years and $86 million due on his contract, pending a 2023 option.
Quote of the day
"If we begin to start accepting 80 (wins) or something that's not good enough, I don't know where we're going."
Manager Kevin Cash, on the disappointment of this season
Duffy playing it out
While the rest of the Rays are heading home, SS Matt Duffy is playing this week in instructional league, slated today for the first of three full games in the field, fully testing the previously injured left heel that sidelined him all season. "It's been kind of a relief," Duffy said. "While it's still a little sore, it's to the point where I'm like, okay, it's sore but I can play baseball and I don't have to worry about it. It's a good thought. It's comforting. And it's fun to be able to just play." Assuming Duffy gets through the week okay, he will head home to California for a winter of maintenance work with the expectation he will report to spring training "ready to go, with no restrictions, just like any other player." Where he plays, given that the Rays are likely to retain SS Adeiny Hechavarria, will then become the question.
Telling stat of the day, No. 1
48 Percentage of Rays runs scored by home runs, third highest in the majors, behind only the Blue Jays and A's (who finished with worse records) and highest in team history.
Telling stat of the day, No. 2
37.6 Percentage of Rays plate appearances that ended in one of the "three true outcomes" — strikeout, walk or home run — highest in the AL.
Telling stat of the day, No. 3
694 Runs scored by the Rays, 14th in the AL and 25th in the majors, including 11 shutouts.
. The Rays will have the No. 16 pick in the 2018 draft, with their 2016 record used to give them the tiebreaker to pick ahead of the Angels and Royals.
. Team officials are still exploring the possibility of extending fan-protecting netting to the far ends of the dugouts.
. RHPs Taylor Guerrieri and Jose De Leon, who missed large chucks of the season with arm issues, are both throwing again and expected to be healthy and ready for spring training.