Sunday, November 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Union boss sympathizes with Rays' dilemma

RECOMMENDED READING


PORT CHARLOTTE

As head of the players union, Michael Weiner doesn't like everything the Rays do.

After his annual camp visit Saturday, for example, he made clear his distaste for their policy of cutting off negotiations with arbitration-eligible players once figures are exchanged, and he isn't a huge fan of their team-friendly long-term contracts.

But Weiner did seem to share the Rays' view on two interesting issues:

• The new collective bargaining agreement rules, specifically regarding the draft, haven't helped them, at least initially, in terms of competitive balance.

"We recognized what was in place could hurt a team like the Rays; we weren't in favor of it. … But there was a compromise," he said. "I think there is some legitimacy to what the Rays management says in terms of whether this particular franchise is really advantaged by the changes."

• Hillsborough County might be a better location for a stadium than the Trop site.

"I think everybody is curious what would happen or could happen if you had a stadium that was on the other side of Tampa that is accessible to Orlando residents as well as Tampa residents," Weiner said. "I guess the bet was that going south would expand the market. It hasn't really worked as expected."

Though Weiner had no sense of how the stadium issue would be resolved, he said elimination of the franchise through contraction was not a viable option — "I don't think that's the solution" — and he had not heard any talk about potential relocation out of the Tampa Bay area.

Weiner said he shared the commissioner's disappointment in the Rays' low attendance, noting they have been "a competitive, entertaining team" and that "when you have a team that frankly has succeeded on the field but less so in the box office, it is disappointing."

Weiner also said most players like the unbalanced schedule (Rays officials would prefer it be balanced), and he does not expect the AL to drop the DH but it is possible the NL could add it.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: In a behind-the-scenes look at why the Royals agreed to the big winter trade, foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal says the Rays were close to a different deal that would have sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Arizona and Justin Upton to Texas and netted them a package of prospects. … ESPN has the Rays No. 3 in its ranking of teams on future potential, based on talent, ownership/management and roster flexibility, behind the Cardinals and Rangers. … Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks tweeted on the way to a game in Dunedin last week: "Just passed the trop. … Miss that place as much as chicken pox." … The B-Street Band, the Spring­steen tribute group led by Joe Maddon buddy Willie Forte, is playing before the March 10-11 exhibitions. … Sounds like 3B Evan Longoria will downplay his personal role in the coming-soon-to-Tampa Ducky's Sports Lounge in hopes the overall eating/drinking experience is the bigger attraction.

Comments
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Updated: 11 hours ago
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 ...
Published: 11/17/17
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