Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays want Myers to be complete player

RECOMMENDED READING


PORT CHARLOTTE — As impressed as the Rays are with top prospect Wil Myers' hitting prowess, as evident as it is how he earned minor-league player of the year honors, as obvious as it is why he commanded such a high price in a trade with Kansas City, they say he has more work to do.

"We need complete baseball players," manager Joe Maddon said.

Matt Joyce knows exactly what that means. Because he wasn't very many days into his first spring with the Rays after being acquired from Detroit when he got the same speech.

"These guys are totally different," Joyce said of the Rays. "They want you to play the entire game."

So when the Rays send Myers to Triple A to start the season and their talk about "development" sounds like code for delaying his arbitration and free-agency eligibility, they actually will have a specific plan in place for the 22-year-old outfielder.

"Getting the work necessary on defense, baserunning, etc., the things that we like to do here that he may not have been pushed to do in the past," Maddon said. "I want us to push him to do that now."

Joyce didn't have as much hype and hyperbole as Myers when he was acquired in a December 2008 trade, but he did have the experience of nearly 100 games and some decent success with the Tigers as a 24-year-old.

The Rays quickly made it clear that just being a good hitter was not good enough.

"When I came over, I told them the Tigers really stressed hitting. They wanted you to hit," Joyce said. "The baserunning and stuff, we really didn't work on it that much. It was just kind of like, hey, you got on the base and you ran the bases. It wasn't like, 'We want you to go first to third, we want you to be lined up like this, we want you to take your lead this way.' They get really in-depth here."

Maddon said the Rays have to, for good reasons. They must maximize their roster to compete with teams spending two and three times as much, and with less chemical enhancement, the game is becoming more athletic.

"You want the bat to be prominent, no question about that," Maddon said. "But we need to play the complete game. We have to be able to steal runs on defense. We've got to pick up runs with our legs. We just can't have a guy go out there and be totally focused on offense and not play the rest of the game and have us expect to win 90 games. We can't do it."

Maddon was careful to not criticize the Royals' development of Myers, but he said there's a tendency industrywide "to overlook things" with elite prospects.

"That's one I want us to focus on here is that we don't do that," he said, "that because a guy is really good or comes with a great reputation, that you don't avoid those conversations."

Maddon had the talk with Myers a few days ago about how, starting in spring training, they want him to work on specifics such as footwork in the outfield, leads on the bases, etc.

Myers said he's good with it. "Absolutely," he said. "I want to be open to coaching. I just want to do whatever they say will help me and the team win."

Joyce plans to talk to Myers as well: "It's one of those situations where he's got some things to learn, so I'm going to try and help him because I was there."

Also, because it worked.

Joyce says he is a much better overall player as a result. "Without a doubt," he said. "It's huge. Those things get overlooked more often than you would think, and they are such a big part of the game."

Now Myers is the next project. Asked Monday, as he is often, about expectations for Myers, Maddon said: "That he learns how to become a Ray, he learns how to play the game the way we play it here."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17
As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

Presuming Alex Cobb declines the Rays’ one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer by 5 p.m. today, he has pitched his last game for Tampa Bay.Cobb has received preliminary interest from "lots of teams" already, agent Dan Horwits said. The Cubs and Twin...
Published: 11/16/17
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made clear Thursday that identification of a site for a new Rays stadium is merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to "consistent forward movement" on the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday that the team is "genuinely excited" about the proposed Ybor City site for a new stadium and more than "cautiously optimistic" the project can be completed. But ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Rays journal: No big deals at GM meetings, but possible groundwork laid

By MARC TOPKINLAKE BUENA VISTA — Rays officials left the GM meetings without making any big deals — such as trading Alex Colome or Chris Archer to the Cardinals — but more knowledgeable about the possibilities. "Expectations were to utilize these few...
Published: 11/15/17
Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

For his wife, Brandy, Roy Halladay was so much more than a standout pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.During a a celebration of life ceremony Tuesday at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Brandy remembered Halladay — who died Nov...
Published: 11/15/17