Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays unsure how new bonus rules will affect them in draft that starts Monday night

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said the draft is probably more important to them than most teams because of the division they compete in and the resources they have to work with.

And this year's first-year player draft, which begins tonight, will have a different feel. It's not just because Tampa Bay has one first-day pick (No. 25 overall) after boasting a historic 10 last year.

The "new wrinkle," as Friedman calls it, is a signing bonus system implemented through the new collective bargaining agreement, which limits the bonus money teams can pay based on the value of their top 10 picks.

The Rays' top 10 picks are valued at $3.871 million, with the bonus for the top pick $1.725 million. In previous seasons, the Rays would pay up in the later rounds, giving a player a bonus typically associated with a higher pick so they could sign him.

But under the new rules, paying up can cost Tampa Bay a 75 percent tax and loss of a pick.

"I think with the guys that we're most interested in, it's not going to be a problem at all," Friedman said. "The only challenge is that it's going to limit our flexibility late in the draft. We've basically drafted guys normally through the first six-seven-eight rounds and then taken some guys we have interest in later in the draft and basically continue to scour them through the summer and set aside money to be as aggressive as we could on those guys. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out."

Scouting director R.J. Harrison said as a result of the new bonus system, more high school players will decide to go to college and the draft will go back to its roots, where higher picks will be rewarded for being high picks.

"I think there are some interesting dynamics involved," Friedman said. "And until we understand how certain agents are going to handle it, how certain teams are going to handle it, it's difficult to assess whether it'll be a positive or negative."

Regardless of the new rules, the Rays plan on taking the best player available, not necessarily focusing on need.

"You can never have enough of anything," Harrison said.

Harrison said this year's draft isn't as deep as last year's, though it has strong high school pitching prospects as well as high school position players. He said the biggest thing the draft is lacking is left-handed pitching.

"That's the only real big gap that I see," Harrison said.

Friedman said picking at No. 25 is "really, really difficult" because it's hard to predict what teams will do in front of them. Baseball America's mock draft has Tampa Bay selecting Joey Gallo, a third baseman/right-handed pitcher from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.

"The randomness of how certain teams value a player vs. another, it's very difficult," Friedman said. "The good news is, if we get 25 names lined up, we're going to get one of them."

MLB draft

When/where: Today-Wednesday, Secaucus, N.J.

TV: MLB Network

Day 1: Round 1 and compensation round A, 7 p.m.

Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin's takeaways from Rays 4-2 loss to Red Sox on Tuesday:* The Rays record against a Red Sox team they consider a measuring stick doesn't look very good at 3-8. But, as manager Kevin Cash and several players pointed out, there is some consola...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: Critics don’t faze Sergio Romo or team

Rays journal: Critics don’t faze Sergio Romo or team

ST. PETERSBURG — Criticisms of the Rays' latest innovative pitching strategy have piled up since Angels INF Zack Cosart said after Sunday's game that starting RHP Sergio Romo to get the first three-six outs was "bad for baseball.''One of the lo...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

ST. PETERSBURG — Top prospect Willy Adames is only going to get to stay with the Rays for a few days, so good for him for making the most of it with a home run in his first big-league game, and off Red Sox ace Chris Sale no less.But the good fe...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

UPDATE, 6:04: Cash said the Rays don't know yet if Wendle will be  back Thursday or Friday, though with the Sox starting RHP Rick Porcello on Thursday that would make sense. …  Cash said OF Carlos Gomez (groin strain) will run the bas...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – but only for a couple days

Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – but only for a couple days

The Rays have called up top prospect INF Willy Adames – though likely for a short stay.INF Joey Wendle was placed on the paternity list Tuesday, which allows him to miss up to three days.Manager Kevin Cash said Adames is headed back to Triple-A...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG  — Christian Arroyo has watched more than 50 Rays games at Tropicana Field from the stands. Has been on the turf for his younger sister's gymnastics competitions and once, while it was in football configuration, to take grou...
Published: 05/21/18
There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

Tampa Bay Rays OF Kevin Kiermaier and his wife Marisa are having a boy.Kiermaier shared the news on Twitter over the weekend in a most appropriate themed gender reveal event — taking a swing at ball that exploded with blue powder.Looks like im ...
Published: 05/21/18
What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

ST. PETERSBURG — When Kevin Cash called team president Matt Silverman Sunday morning to wish him happy birthday, he expected to get back some form of an "attaboy" for implementing the Rays' latest unorthodox pitching strategy in using reliever ...
Published: 05/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Published: 05/20/18
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Published: 05/20/18