Monday, December 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays designate Hideki Matsui for assignment

The Tampa Bay Rays have designated veteran DH/OF Hideki Matsui for assignment.

The move was made to make room for INF Ryan Roberts, who was acquired Tuesday night from the Diamondbacks.

Matsui, 38, who signed a minor league deal with Tampa Bay in late April, had been struggling mightily, hitting .147, and in a 0-for-16 hitless streak.

Whether it is the end of the line for Matsui's big-league career remains to be seen. The two-time All-Star, and former World Series MVP with the Yankees in 2009 has 10 days to clear waivers, get traded. It's unclear whether Matsui would accept an assignment to Triple-A Durham if he made it through waivers.

With OF Sam Fuld returning from the disabled list, and Roberts acquired, room - and time - was simply running out for Matsui to get things going offensively. Matsui, a career .282 hitter with five seasons of 20-plus home runs, hasn't looked right at the plate. He has said part of it was mechanical issues, which he's still not worked through, though added "it's no excuse."

"During a game you can't really pay attention to your mechanics and you just have to make the most out of the opportunities that are given to you. Obviously, the results aren't there, but the best thing that can be done is to get ready for the next opportunity and make sure you're prepared."

Matsui, a legend back in Japan, brought some fanfare - and dozens of Japanese media - when he signed in late April. The media core followed Matsui with the Rays wherever he went.

The Rays have praised Matsui for how professional he's been, how hard he's worked, but it just hasn't worked out.

"In spite of all the years that he played, he's a very proud man," Maddon said Sunday. "He still wants to do well, and I know he feels he can still do well. So he's not used to this kind of failure in a baseball sense because he's always been so good. I know that. I can see it in his face. I know how hard he's trying."

Comments
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Published: 12/16/17
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17