Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Stuart Sternberg: 'No regrets' in David Price deal

CHICAGO — Though encouraged that fans he ran into this weekend seemed to understand the reasoning, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Saturday his processing of the decision to trade ace David Price is "still a work in progress."

"He'd been such a huge part of our success here, and I think a lot of the things that David had done here will stay with us for a long time," Sternberg said before Saturday's 4-0 win against the Cubs. "But it was (only) David (traded), and it wasn't three, four, five, eight guys, and I think people got that and understood we were still in it to win it. It really was the classic one-eye-on-the-present/one-eye-on-the-future kind of deal. It doesn't make things easier today, but it's never easy for us."

As difficult as trading a Cy Young Award winner is, Sternberg said it is simply a product of the way — "the only way" — the Rays have to operate under the game's economic structure.

And he said he has no regrets.

"I can think of really one regret as an owner, that really fell on us that would have been meaningful and made a difference," he said. "That was back when we lost that (2010 playoff) series to the Rangers and it was clear we had a use for a bat at that point. And that will stick with me for as long as I have the team because it also helps guide what we're going to try to do going forward."

Also, Sternberg said, "at this point it feels like" the Rays will meet their annual goal of playing meaningful games in at least the start of September, though "we don't have a lot of room for error, which makes it a little unsettling."

And he said he was overwhelmed by the large number of Rays fans in Chicago, using the words "shocked," "heartened," "heartwarming" and "amazing."

PENNED IN: Needing to get nine outs from the bullpen with a 4-0 lead Saturday, manager Joe Maddon turned first to rookie Kirby Yates. Yates delivered, sailing through the seventh so well that he ended up working the eighth. "It was nice he went through that moment," Maddon said. "He was outstanding. He should gain some confidence from that." Then, though it was not a save situation, Maddon used LHP Jake McGee in the ninth because the top of the Cubs' order was up. "We don't have an ordained closer, so it was a perfect spot for him," Maddon said.

REHAB REPORT: OF Wil Myers (right wrist) was cleared to start a 20-day rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham, whose game Saturday was rained out. The expectation is he'll need about two weeks (with off days scheduled) to get ready, having been out since late May. "He's going to need some at-bats to really regain his rhythm," Maddon said, suggesting 20-30.

DOUBLE DATE: Sternberg and Rays TV man Dewayne Staats share an Aug. 8 birthday, and both had small dinner parties Friday to celebrate, coincidentally at the same Italian restaurant, Rosebud on Rush Street.

CATCHING ON: C Chris Gimenez cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Rangers and can sign with any team. There is mutual interest between him and the Rays, a pairing that would provide the Rays a more experienced option than rookie Curt Casali to share time with Jose Molina. Ryan Hanigan remains idled by an oblique strain.

EIGHT BALL: Maddon had RHP Jake Odorizzi hit eighth, the fifth time this season and seventh overall he has had a pitcher bat higher than ninth. It has been done only twice elsewhere since the 1997 start of interleague play.

MISCELLANY: The replay review of Molina throwing out Cubs OF Justin Ruggiano stealing second in the fifth took a lengthy 4:10, and the call stood. … With two hits, INF/OF Ben Zobrist raised his average to .285 overall and .363 since June 28. … Odorizzi leads all major-league rookies with 139 strikeouts. … SS Yunel Escobar had his first three-RBI game in exactly a year.

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