Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays keep options open heading into GM meetings

Just because the Rays made an unexpectedly early deal to fill two holes in acquiring SS Brad Miller and DH/1B/OF Logan Morrison doesn't mean they won't have a lot more to talk about this offseason.

Team execs head to Boca Raton for this week's GM meetings with their focus narrowed but their options wide open.

"Our desire to improve the team and the organization is constant, and we still have some areas to address," baseball operations president Matt Silverman said. "That's where our depth will come in handy. It's going to be a busy offseason for sure, and in February we'll look back and see how much actual activity there was."

Given that the Rays typically don't venture into free agency until later — when their currency of playing time can be worth more than money to players still on the market — the focus will continue to be on trades.

And that doesn't only include deals to add to the big-league team. For example, trading 1B James Loney — and his $8 million salary — looks now to be a key in opening playing time for Richie Shaffer, allowing Morrison to be used differently and creating financial and roster flexibility to add a hitter.

Plus, the Rays are known for being open to talking about anything, and any player. In 13 months since taking over, Silverman has made 13 deals involving 45 players. This offseason won't be one and done.

"The pace won't change," he said. "The rumors will still fly. But we can narrow our focus a bit, now that we've crossed a couple items off the to-do list."

TRADE TALK: Besides getting out of spacious Safeco Field, getting into the Rays' more relaxed clubhouse atmosphere also is expected to do both newcomers good, Morrison noting how it will help Miller to be "freed up" from too much coaching input. … Miller was on his way to Clemson for Saturday's big FSU game when he got word of the trade and said his second call, after his girlfriend, was to Shaffer, ex-Tigers and now Rays teammate. … Morrison raved about Miller's work ethic and talent but also cracked, "He runs like a baby giraffe." (FWIW, Miller agreed.) … Miller said the free-spirited Morrison brings a lot of energy and is "an absolute beast — he's really strong and can hit the ball a mile." … Seems like a stretch for Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto to be counting on OF prospect Boog Powell to impact their 2016 team. … Text from a non-Rays scout after the trade: "LoMo will hit."

RAYS RUMBLINGS: Team president Brian Auld considered results of the St. Peter City Council election a good sign for progress on the stadium situation: "We're optimistic that there's a deal to be reached." … CF Kevin Kiermiaer seems the favorite to win a Gold Glove, 3B Evan Longoria not as much. Announcement is Tuesday. … Port Charlotte's advanced Class A Stone Crabs are being sold by Ripken Baseball to a group led by former Triple-A Pawtucket (R.I.) chief Lou Schwechheimer. The Charlotte Sun's Josh Vitale reports no changes are planned to the spring or minor-league arrangements. … The Rays are a midpack 33-1 to win the 2016 World Series per Bovada's initial odds; Joe Maddon's Cubs are 11-1 favorites. … Farm director Mitch Lukevics is among the inductees into the Florida State League Hall of Fame at Tuesday's Clearwater banquet. Also to be inducted: Rays merchandising manager Debbie Brooks, who in 1987 was the FSL's first female GM with the Tampa Tarpons. … Neil Solondz did some good stuff on the Rays' prospects in the Arizona Fall League at raysbaseball.com/prospectspotlight. … With VP Chaim Bloom staying (for now) after interviewing for two GM jobs, expect the Rays to fill Matt Arnold's position internally by naming a pro scouting director. … Strong reviews for RHP Chris Archer's TV work included this tweet from ESPN's John Buccigross: "Of all the new faces as baseball analysts this postseason, no doubt who was the best." … New marketing exec Jeff Cogen hits town this week to start sorting out responsibilities. … Former Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is the latest to interview, but still expect former Rays player Gabe Kapler to end up managing former Rays boss Andrew Friedman's Dodgers.

Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

Comments
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays are seeing what itís like to have missed the Sho

Rays are seeing what itís like to have missed the Sho

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays badly wanted Shohei Ohtani for themselves.From execs to interns, they invested extensive time and money preparing their bid in November, touting advantages they figured would play to both his intense desire to re...
Updated: 11 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo on the mound for all to see

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo on the mound for all to see

UPDATE, 6:57: And here is the Angels lineup, with Upton:Cozart 3bTrout cfUpton lfPujols dhSimmons ssKinsler 2bMarte 1bCalhoun rfMaldonado cHeaney pUPDATE, 6:50: Eovaldi came through his Friday rehab start will but will make one more on Wednesday for ...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays Tales: How California dreaminí became reality

Rays Tales: How California dreaminí became reality

ANAHEIM, Calif. —  They're grown men now, making piles of money and getting treated like kings, lavished with top-shelf equipment, designer clothes and first-class accommodations. But it wasn't too long ago that some of the Rays were ...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays put Adeiny Hechavarria on DL, recall RHP Ryne Stanek

Rays put Adeiny Hechavarria on DL, recall RHP Ryne Stanek

The Rays acknowledged what seemed obvious and placed SS Adeiny Hechavarria on the 10-day DL Saturday due to the right hamstring strain he sustained on Thursday.And to take place his place on the roster, they not only didn't call up top prospect INF W...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays make it five in a row as Ramos leads way past Angels

Rays make it five in a row as Ramos leads way past Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. – A little frustrated by an extended skid that followed his streak of hitting in 18 straight games, and a bit irritated over some of the bad swings he had taken, catcher Wilson Ramos went to the cage before Friday's game seeking...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays journal: Good and bad injury news

Rays journal: Good and bad injury news

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays are planning to have 3B Matt Duffy back in the lineup Saturday for the first time since he left Tuesday's game with right hamstring tightness.Which will be good for them since they seem set to be headed toward pl...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Raysí new pitching plan: Sergio Romoís first career start

Raysí new pitching plan: Sergio Romoís first career start

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Your Rays are at it again.In a plan being hailed as either genius or idiotic, and nary much in between, they are plotting to do yet something else different and unusual with their pitching for Saturday's game against the Angel...
Published: 05/18/18
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Blake Snell starting, Adeiny Hechavarria on bench not DL

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Blake Snell starting, Adeiny Hechavarria on bench not DL

UPDATE, 7:54: 3B Matt Duffy said his sore right hamstring is feeling better and assuming he can run the bases today with no unexpected issues he is on track to return to the lineup on Saturday, though potentially as the DH. … That's helpful for...
Published: 05/18/18