Thursday, April 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays trade Logan Forsythe to Dodgers for top pitching prospect Jose De Leon

ST. PETERSBURG — In admitting the pain of trading Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers on Monday night, Rays officials raved about how valuable he was hitting atop their lineup, playing a sturdy second base and providing professionalism and by-example leadership in their clubhouse.

But, they insisted, the talented pitching prospect they got back in right-hander Jose De Leon will make the deal well worth it.

"The way we have him evaluated and his proximity to the big leagues, it was an opportunity we felt we couldn't pass up as an organization," Rays general manager Erik Neander said.

De Leon, 24, is ranked among the top advanced pitching prospects in the game, having posted dazzling numbers through the minor leagues — such as 446 strikeouts in 3302/3 innings — and made it to the big leagues at the end of last season.

The Rays may have De Leon open at Triple-A Durham, but expect him to join their rotation at some point this season and stick around for a long time.

"Adding Jose where he's at certainly deepens our starting pitching depth. That's very important as we try to have success in 2017 and into the future,'' Neander said.

Still, dealing the respected Forsythe did not go over well with current Rays.

"I'm surprised and upset at losing a player, clubhouse presence and friend like Logan," Evan Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times. "He's a rare player."

And Chris Archer tweeted: "I'm really, really, really going to miss Logie bear.''

The Rays will consider several internal options to replace Forsythe, who emerged in 2015 then moved to the leadoff spot last year and produced a career-high 20 home runs.

First choices would appear to be Tim Beckham or Nick Franklin, who were in line for reserve duty, with rookie Daniel Robertson a longer shot. Another option to consider is moving Brad Miller, who was shifted last season to first from short, then signing a first baseman from a pool of free agents still on the market, such as Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds or Logan Morrison, who was with them last year.

"We're going to keep an open mind to just about every consideration," Neander said, including externally.

The Dodgers, led by former Rays boss Andrew Friedman, have been seeking a second baseman, trying first to get Brian Dozier from the Twins, who wanted more than De Leon. In trading Forsythe, which Neander said was not on the winter "to-do list,'' the Rays shed his $5.75 million salary this season and a $9 million option for 2018.

De Leon, who relies primarily on an sharply controlled 89-93 mph fastball and a changeup, missed a month early in the 2016 season with shoulder issues, but Neander said the Rays did extensive study and were confident it was "an isolated incident with no higher risk for recurrence" than any other pitcher.

As proof, they point to his final five Triple-A starts, where he went 3-0, 1.56 with 45 strikeouts and two walks. Overall, De Leon was 7-1, 2.61 at Triple A and 2-0, 6.35 in four starts for the Dodgers.

Though acknowledging how important Forsythe was to their lineup and clubhouse, Neander said the move did not signal a retreat from their intentions to field a team able to compete in 2017.

"Our expectations for 2017 I think are still focused on being competitive,'' he said. "Just how we go about doing that, it's going to have to happen in a little bit of a different way.''

Also Monday, the Rays finalized a one-year, $1 million deal with reliever Shawn Tolleson, who saved 35 games for the Rangers in 2015 but struggled through a rough 2016. Tolleson can make up to another $1.15 million in incentives based on appearances.

Comments
Rays journal: Whew. Alex Colome gets the job done

Rays journal: Whew. Alex Colome gets the job done

ST. PETERSBURG — In the end, Alex Colome got the three outs to save the game, the day and the stomach linings of his bosses from further deterioration, so in theory that should be what mattered most Wednesday.And the fact that he was smiling in...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 4-2 Wednesday win

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 4-2 Wednesday win

Alex Colome's ninth-inning dramatics took the focus, but the work of newly corn-rowed RHP Chaz Roe in the seventh (three Ks) and LHP Jose Alvarado (one K, two infield outs) was textbook, and showed how the bullpen can work.RELATED: Whew. Alex Colome ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Anonymous Rays rally to beat Rangers 4-2, win series

Anonymous Rays rally to beat Rangers 4-2, win series

ST. PETERSBURG — Even before they lost several of the hitters they were relying most on to injuries, the Rays did not exactly have a lineup built on intimidation.Their own owner said opening day that he expected them to rank among the least pro...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays Baldelli makes a key catch

Rays Baldelli makes a key catch

Rays coach Rocco Baldelli was all smiles Wednesday morning, happy to play a role through social media in reuniting a lost dog and its owner."I feel really good about how this worked out," Baldelli said.REUNITED! Thank you everyone for spreading the w...
Published: 04/18/18
For starters: Rays vs. Rangers, with Faria on the hill

For starters: Rays vs. Rangers, with Faria on the hill

UPDATE, 12:01: Cash said Brad Miller (groin) got through his rehab game with the Stone Crabs well last night playing first and will play second tonight, with the likely plan to be off Thursday and rejoin the Rays Friday. … With 3B Matt Duffy on...
Published: 04/18/18
Rays, Chirinos fall to Rangers, 7-2

Rays, Chirinos fall to Rangers, 7-2

ST. PETERSBURG — For three outings, rookie Yonny Chirinos had been stellar in making a case to join the Rays' starting rotation, not allowing a single run in the first 141/3 innings of his major-league career.That perfection came to an inevitab...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Rays journal: Rays play it safe, put Matt Duffy on DL with hamstring injury

Rays journal: Rays play it safe, put Matt Duffy on DL with hamstring injury

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Duffy is back on the disabled list.The Rays third baseman, who missed all of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday after leaving Monday's game in the first inning with t...
Published: 04/17/18
Rays takeaways: Just one bad outing, a rangey outfield, a sharp ex-Ray

Rays takeaways: Just one bad outing, a rangey outfield, a sharp ex-Ray

Yonny Chirinos may still be an answer as the Rays look to fill out their rotation. He probably stayed in a little too long Tuesday, trailing 2-1 entering the fifth but giving up four runs the rest of the way. Bad starts caught up to him in the first,...
Published: 04/17/18
Rays-Rangers lineup: Matt Duffy to DL, Brandon Snyder up

Rays-Rangers lineup: Matt Duffy to DL, Brandon Snyder up

Greetings from Tropicana Field, where another day brings another round of injury-related transactions for the Rays.Third baseman Matt Duffy, who left Monday's game with tightness in his right hamstring, has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, ta...
Published: 04/17/18
It’s Yonny Chirinos day for Rays

It’s Yonny Chirinos day for Rays

Despite starting his major-league career with a Rays record 14-1/3 scoreless innings over three outings, RHP Yonny Chirnos has not officially earned his way into the rotation.Yet.Instead, Chirinos is still considered part of the "Bullpen Day" assortm...
Published: 04/17/18