Thursday, February 22, 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."

Comments
What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

PORT CHARLOTTE — Going against popular opinion, here's an odd thought to ponder:What if the Rays actually know what they're doing?The deal agreed to Wednesday afternoon with veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez — one year for a hefty-for-them ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

PORT CHARLOTTE – Dick Vitale, the Rays' most visible and, as of late, vocal fan, took to Twitter and the 620-AM airwaves Wednesday morning and later in the day in a phone call to the Tampa Bay Times to blast his local baseball team.Vitale, ESPN...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Denard Span on new Ray Anthony Banda: ‘Guy is pretty legit’

Denard Span on new Ray Anthony Banda: ‘Guy is pretty legit’

PORT CHARLOTTE — 2B Nick Solak reported to camp Wednesday, while LHP Anthony Banda, the other player acquired in the Steven Souza Jr. trade, is on his way.Banda, whose fastball hits the mid-90s, pitched in eight games last season with the Diamo...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays move fast to fill void, sign Carlos Gomez

Rays move fast to fill void, sign Carlos Gomez

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays moved quickly to fill the void created by Tuesday's trade of RF Steven Souza Jr., agreeing to a one-year deal Wednesday afternoon with veteran OF Carlos Gomez.The deal, pending a physical, will pay Gomez $4-million...
Updated: 11 hours ago
The brawls new Rays rightfielder Carlos Gomez inspired

The brawls new Rays rightfielder Carlos Gomez inspired

The Rays new rightfielder Carlos Gomez is, as the Times' Rays beat writer Marc Topkin describes him, a "somewhat emotional" player.That reputation in part comes from his role in inspiring a handful of benches-clearing brawls. Here's a look at few of ...
Published: 02/21/18
With Souza the latest to be gone, what do Rays have left? Well …

With Souza the latest to be gone, what do Rays have left? Well …

The first question to ask, understandably, is who do the Rays have left?And, after they Tuesday added 2017 team MVP Steven Souza Jr. to the list of departees that had just included Corey Dickerson and Jake Odorizzi, the next to ask is what do they ha...
Published: 02/21/18
Another question for Rays after trading Souza: What to do with these …

Another question for Rays after trading Souza: What to do with these …

Having traded 2017 team MVP Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona, Rays baseball officials are now looking for a way to replace him on the field.And now Rays marketing officials also have to decide what to do with the spot he held in their lineup, having sched...
Published: 02/21/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: The Rays fire sale is on

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: The Rays fire sale is on

The fire sale is on for the Rays, as they trade Steven Souza, Jr., to Arizona to trim more payroll for this season.In his lastest podcast, Rick Stroud says he feels bad for Rays fans, as many of their favorite players have left the team, including Ev...
Published: 02/21/18
Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

The Rays traded right fielder Steven Souza, Jr., their 2017 team MVP, to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a three-team deal for Arizona's No. 2 prospect, lefty Anthony Banda, Yankees infield prospect Nick Solak and two players to be named...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18
Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

PORT CHARLOTTE — Evan Longoria traded in December. Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson dumped over the weekend. Then, in a stunning move Tuesday night, 2017 team MVP Steven Souza Jr. shipped to Arizona as part of a three-team deal that netted onl...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18