Thursday, July 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays manager Kevin Cash lobbies for speed in outfield

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Rays are still looking at different ways to fill their opening for an outfielder, whether to go more offensive or defensive or a mix.

Manager Kevin Cash was fast to share his preference.

"Personally, I like the speed factor," he said. "And a guy that is capable of playing some centerfield."

If the Rays go that way and add someone who can serve as a trusty backup to Gold Glove winner Kevin Kiermiaer, among other duties, an option could be San Diego's Travis Jankowski.

Jankowski, 25, provides speed, defense and small-ball type offense and is available.

The Rays are also looking for bullpen help, with Cash saying they are talking about going more with ground-ball and higher velocity pitchers than they have.

Talks on both fronts — as well as any trade of a starter — will remain ongoing after the winter meetings end today.

"There's a lot of active conversations with clubs," GM Erik Neander said. "There's still a lot of different ways we could go to make our team better."

CUTTING COMMENT: Playing off last year's incident in Chicago when LHP Chris Sale refused to wear — and actually cut up — a White Sox throwback jersey, and was disciplined for doing so, Cash said of his trade to Boston: "Our marketing department can now figure out when to do throwback jersey day. So we're good."

RAYS REPORT: The Rays have the No. 4 pick in this morning's Rule 5 draft of non-40-man-roster players and are considering making a selection, which costs $100,000 with the player required to stay in the majors. … The Rays have the first of the June draft competitive balance picks, an extra selection after the first round. … TV man Dewayne Staats was a finalist for the Hall of Fame Frick award that went to Bill King of Oakland.

DONE DEALS: Closer Aroldis Chapman agreed to a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees. … Ex-Rays RHP Wade Davis was traded from the Royals to the Cubs, where he will take over as closer. The Cubs gave up OF Jorge Soler. … The Nats sent top RHP prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to the dismantling White Sox for CF Adam Eaton. … INF/OF Ian Desmond agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with the Rockies. … Former Rays closer Fernando Rodney signed a one-year deal with Arizona for $2.75 million plus incentives. … Ex-Ray Richie Shaffer was designated for assignment by Seattle.

AROUND THE LOBBY: Kenley Jansen is the last elite closer available, with the Dodgers, Marlins and Nats likely in pursuit. Teams that miss out could turn to trade options, with the Rays likely to at least listen on RHP Alex Colome. … O's GM Dan Duquette said they won't pursue former Jays OF Jose Bautista as a free agent because "he's a villain in Baltimore."

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