Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays owner Sternberg inclined to wait and see

NEW YORK — Principal owner Stuart Sternberg said it's still going to take much better play — "a Herculean effort" — for the resurgent Rays to get back into legit playoff contention.

But they've played well enough recently that Sternberg indicated team officials will wait until closer to the July 31 deadline for nonwaiver trades to decide whether to deal David Price and other veterans, stick with what they have or even add players.

"We really are taking it a day and a week at a time to see where we stand," he said before Tuesday's game. "Obviously we have some decisions to make at some point in time potentially — make decisions not to do something, make decisions to do something. I emphasize that when you don't do something that's a decision in itself, so we're always evaluating and making decisions."

Having won 12 of 19, the Rays started play Tuesday 9½ games behind American League East-leading Toronto (and 10 behind Seattle, the second wild card).

Sternberg said the decision(s) on whether to make trades will be the result of several factors, including, but not limited to, the standings.

"A lot will be dependent upon how the team is playing, what's happening around us, what other teams are looking to do to improve or even something we could do to improve," Sternberg said. (He added quickly that the last option is least likely, as they feel with the players that have emerged and others returning from injury, they should have what they need.)

Also a factor: how hard the team is playing. "It's not just the wins, but it's how the guys are carrying themselves, how the team looks, and (if) they've kept it together," he said, noting that while others might have given up after the rough start "that's clearly not the case" with the Rays.

Noting how the Rays didn't make deals in 2011 then came back from nine out in September to make the playoffs, Sternberg said it's his and the team's standard practice to "wait as long as I need to to make a decision if it'll give us a clearer picture of what's ahead of us."

HELPING HAND: LHP Jeff Beliveau was called up to bolster the bullpen, taking the spot created when SS Yunel Escobar went on the DL. Beliveau, who had two brief stints with the Rays, had been dominant at Triple-A Durham, posting a 1.10 ERA with 10 saves over 26 games, allowing 15 hits and 14 walks while striking out 46.

Manager Joe Maddon said they felt it more important to bolster the bullpen after heavy usage and could switch back to the extra position player in a few days. Also a factor is LHP Cesar Ramos' pending paternity leave.

INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE: As the international signing period opens today, the Rays are predicted by Baseball America to sign the top-rated prospect, Dominican SS Adrian Rondon, once he turns 16 on July 7, for a bonus of around $3 million, which will exceed their pool and result in penalties (financial/2015-16 signing limits). The Rays are also projected to sign Dominican OF Jesus Sanchez.

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTER: Top overall pitching prospect RHP Taylor Guerrieri threw an inning for the Gulf Coast League team Tuesday, marking his return to game action just more than 11 months after Tommy John surgery.

ABOUT MONDAY NIGHT: The Rays turned what could have been a crushing defeat, as Joel Peralta gave up a tying homer to Brian Roberts with one out in the ninth, into an inspiring 4-3 12-inning win. Brandon Guyer walked with two outs in the 12th and stole second, then sizzling Logan Forsythe singled him in.

MISCELLANY: RHP Jeremy Hellickson is set to make his next rehab start Thursday for Durham. … INF Cole Figueroa admitted he was surprised to start at DH, as Maddon wanted to get him some at-bats. … Forsythe tied a team record with 10 assists Monday.

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