PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays moved Sunday to the verge of signing rehabilitating veteran RHP Nathan Eovaldi, added St. Petersburg College product RHP Jeff Walters on a minor-league deal and continued their pursuit of free-agent All-Star C Matt Wieters.
But the biggest transaction, at least to some fans, came off the field, as popular CF Kevin Kiermaier announced via Twitter that he is now engaged to girlfriend Marisa:
"Its official people!! This beautiful girl said yes!! Capped off my offseason with the best news ever!!"
Kiermaier went public with the news of the then 5-month-old romance just before last spring training, then sealed the proposal deal on Saturday night.
Back on the field
RHP Nathan Eovaldi, 27 today, was close to finalizing a $2 million major-league deal, with a 2018 option for $2 million plus incentives. That makes sense because he is expected to miss this season recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. He has pitched parts of six seasons in the majors for the Dodgers, Marlins and Yankees, posting a career-best 14-3 record and 4.20 ERA in 2015 in New York. The Rays will have to drop a player to make room on the 40-man roster, though they can then put Eovaldi on the 60-day disabled list to get an open spot. RHP Jeff Walters, 29, has spent his career in the Mets system, getting no higher than Triple A. C Matt Wieters remains the most attractive free agent bat, and the Rays can offer plenty of opportunity behind the plate.
Odorizzi vs. Rays
RHP Jake Odorizzi will be in a St. Petersburg hotel conference this morning for his arbitration hearing. A panel will decide between the Rays' $3.825 million offer and his $4.1 million request.
Though listening to team reps point out your flaws can be tough, Odorizzi said he was ready for the process and resolution in time for the spring-opening workout. "I'm mentally prepared for the hearing and physically prepared for camp on Tuesday," he said.
• Thirty-eight of the 64 players have been working out, including free-agent RHP Shawn Tolleson and slimmed down RHP Brad Boxberger.
• A big addition to the Charlotte Sports Park clubhouse is a pingpong table.
• Locker pairings of note: SS Matt Duffy next to fellow Long Beach State product 3B Evan Longoria; OF Colby Rasmus next to Kiermaier and across from younger brother nonroster RHP Cory Rasmus.