Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' bullpen reconstruction is taking shape

Piece by piece, the annual reconstruction of the Rays' bullpen is taking shape.

With last week's moves to bring back LHP J.P. Howell and bring in RHP Burke Badenhop to join returning RHPs Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta and Brandon Gomes and LHP Jake McGee, the foundation would appear to be in place.

The Rays are looking for another reliever, ideally but not necessarily one with high-leverage experience. But they believe they could fill the remaining spot internally from a group that includes RHP Josh Lueke (acquired from Seattle), LHP Cesar Ramos, RHP Dane De La Rosa, nonroster invitee RHP Jhonny Nunez and potentially a starter who doesn't make the rotation.

"We've added a couple names to the mix, and it's possible we add one or two more," executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "But we're comfortable with the composition right now in terms of the way the guys complement one another and the different looks (manager) Joe (Maddon) will have access to.''

Badenhop adds an interesting element. He is a ground-ball specialist, much like Chad Bradford was in 2008, though with a delivery that is more traditional but, Maddon said, still "a little funky."

One key will be the continued development of Gomes and McGee, who had impressive rookie seasons. "You don't know how they'll do their second year out,'' Maddon said.

Another is Howell's improvement in his second year post-shoulder surgery. The Rays expect more consistency in his delivery, which will lead to better control and improved results. "I think he's going to be fine," Maddon said.

Howell — whom the Rays debated cutting loose — is excited by the opportunity to prove them right to keep him.

"I'm pumped to run with the Rays," he said in a text message. "The core is an amazing group of people from front office to the clubbies. It's hard to find people and places such as this! I feel lucky to be around all this positive energy."

WINTER WONDER: OF Todd Glaesmann, who spent 2011 at Class A Bowling Green, will play for the World team in Wednesday's Australian Baseball League All-Star Game. He hit .310 in 22 games.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: Badenhop doesn't just pitch; the magna cum laude business graduate of Bowling Green wrote the foreword for a friend's financial planning book and has dabbled with movie scripts. … LHP David Price was the surprised top vote-getter in an online St. Petersburg Times poll asking which starter should be traded; he had 33 percent of 1,600-plus votes as of Saturday evening. Price posted on Twitter: "lol whaaaatttt???" … Maddon caps a week of charity events in the Tampa Bay area and his hometown, Hazleton, Pa., on Monday by dropping the puck at the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey game. … Maddon has big plans to expand his Thanksmas program, from serving meals to the needy to opening shelters. … The Rays are bringing their advertising work in house, saying that after a six-year relationship with the Tampa firm PyperPaul + Kenney they have the skills and knowledge to handle it themselves and aren't doing it for cost savings. … Also on the business side, the Rays gave about 50 pre-programmed iPad2s to key sponsors, allowing for real-time interactions. … Friedman's selection to Major League Baseball's new International Talent Committee could be significant given the Rays' exposure in Latin America and interest in changes to the draft process. … New pre-/postgame radio host Neil Solondz (SO-lahnz) will bring an air of professionalism and deep knowledge of players to the shows. … After joining the Rays as a pro scout, former big-leaguer Rico Brogna may give up his duties at Connecticut's Notre Dame-Fairfield High, where he is head football coach.

Tampa Bay Rays' bullpen reconstruction is taking shape 12/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 8:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  2. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  3. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  4. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  5. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)