Monday, December 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays shut out in lottery for extra draft picks

ST. LOUIS — Major League Baseball instituted a competitive balance lottery in 2012 to award additional draft picks to help small-market and low-revenue teams.

And for the second time in three years, the Rays — who rank among the smallest and the lowest — were shut out while teams that don't seem to be either, such as the Cardinals, Orioles and Rockies, won extra picks.

"There are obvious flaws with this draft lottery,'' Rays president Matt Silverman said. "If it were better constructed, it would only scratch at the surface of the competitive balance issues plaguing baseball. For the long-term health of our game, we must confront these issues. We have been and will continue to be vocal advocates for meaningful change.''

MLB identified 13 teams (also Athletics, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Indians, Marlins, Padres, Pirates, Reds, Royals) to compete in a drawing for six picks added at the end of the first round. The seven that don't win, plus the Mariners and Twins (as revenue-sharing recipients), then go into a drawing for six at the end of the second round. Teams are allowed to trade the picks, which gives them added value.

Teams winning the extra post-first round picks were the Marlins, Rockies, Cardinals, Brewers, Padres and Indians. Teams winning the extra post-second round picks were the Reds, A's, Mariners, Twins, Orioles and D-backs.

The Rays did win an extra post-second pick in the 2013 draft and used that to select RHP Brent Honeywell.

HELLY BACK: RHP Jeremy Hellickson will rejoin the rotation Saturday against Boston, with RHP Chris Archer working the finale of the series that LHP David Price will open Friday.

Hellickson worked his way back from January elbow surgery to start for the Rays on July 8, allowing one run over 41/3 innings with no decision. He then was optioned to the minors to make two starts so he could stay on schedule over the All-Star break and through this week, which had two off days.

"Everything seemed to be good," manager Joe Maddon said. "We wanted to keep him rolling and the awkward schedule permitted us to do it this way, so he's ready to roll and we'll see how it all plays out."

The Rays will have to drop a pitcher to add Hellickson, with LHP Erik Bedard, who has pitched one inning since making his last start July 3, seemingly likely to be traded, released or designated for assignment.

HOLLA BACK: Maddon had no second thoughts about yelling at Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright during a third-inning exchange Tuesday, even though it led to his ejection as home plate umpire Mark Ripperger thought it was directed at him. Maddon claimed that Wainwright had been yelling into the Rays dugout – which Wainwright kind of denied – so Maddon had to respond. "I can't let him get away with that,'' Maddon said, calling Wainwright's actions "entertaining."

Plus, he kind of enjoyed it.

"I'll always try to do what I perceive to be the right thing for the Rays only,'' Maddon said. "I'm not worried about the other team ever. I'm not worried about hurting anybody else's feelings or whatever. That's their responsibility. So what it comes down to, what I've got to do, it's about us. And I hope that does sound selfish, because that's the way it is.''

TOSSED: SS Yunel Escobar was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Bellino in the fourth for his vehement reaction to a called third strike, his second with the Rays and seventh overall. "It was hard to defend him,'' Maddon said. "I went out and asked Danny what he said and he said pretty much he had said everything.''

BIG HIT: RHP Alex Cobb's second-inning RBI double was a big deal for a number of reasons. It not only was the first hit for Cobb, who had been 0-for-7, and the first extra-base hit for a Rays pitcher in five years but only the fourth by a pitcher in franchise history for a go-ahead RBI: Mickey Callaway in June 1999 at Montreal; Bryan Rekar in June 2000 at Philadelphia; and James Shields in May 2011 at Florida.

RBI GUY: 3B Evan Longoria took over the all-time franchise RBI lead with his 593rd on Tuesday night. He earlier this year broke the records for homers and doubles but said the mark for driving in runs means more. "That's my job," he said. "That's the gist of what I need to do for this team."

REHAB REPORT: INF Tim Beckham (right knee surgery) went 3-for-4 as the DH in his second rehab game for the Gulf Coast League team, with plans to play SS Friday. … The Rays are still awaiting blood test results to confirm that RHP Joel Peralta has the chikungunya virus as his symptoms indicate.

MISCELLANY: Cobb benefitted in the seventh inning when ball four to John Jay wasn't added to the count, and eventually struck him out. … C Jose Molina extended his hitting streak to nine games and got his average to .200. … LHP Jake McGee converted his eighth straight save. … The Rays tied a team record with their eighth straight road win. … For the second straight game, third this season and fourth overall, Maddon batted his starting pitcher (Cobb) eighth.

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