Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer

Marc Topkin

Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Phone: (727) 893-8801


Blog: The Heater

Twitter: @TBTimes_Rays

  1. Same philosophy, different approach for Rays' Silverman

    The Heater

    Matt Silverman won't run the Rays exactly the same way Andrew Friedman did for nine seasons before leaving last week for the Dodgers.

    After joking that he was funnier, more charming and taller than his good buddy, Silverman acknowledged that while both are "people people" and focus on communication, there are some substantive differences — one being that he plans to do less and delegate more, operating more in what he described as an "oversight role" at times....

    Matt Silverman, left, with manager Joe Maddon, moves from team president to president of baseball operations. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Former Rays exec Andrew Friedman: Dodgers won't pursue Joe Maddon

    The Heater

    Departed top Rays baseball executive Andrew Friedman did his best to further quell speculation that manager Joe Maddon will follow him to the Dodgers, saying Friday that Don Mattingly "definitely" will manage the 2015 season in Los Angeles and potentially many more.

    "I have a tremendous personal relationship with Joe. He's a very good friend of mine and have a really good professional relationship as well," Friedman said after his introductory news conference in Los Angeles. "That being said, Joe is now working with Matt Silverman and the baseball operation people (with the Rays), and I'm excited about working with Donnie....

    Andrew Friedman, left, a 37-year-old former Wall Street analyst, speaks after being introduced by Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten, right, as the new Los Angeles Dodger president of baseball operations at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)  LA104
  3. Rays promote Bloom and Neander to VPs


    With Matt Silverman taking over for departed Andrew Friedman as the Rays new President of Baseball Operations, two top assistants, Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander,  were promoted from directors to vice presidents of baseball operations to reflect their additional duties and responsibilities.

    "Erik and Chaim's promotions are well deserved as they have been essential contributors to our operation for years," Silverman said in a statement. "I look forward to working with them in all facets of baseball operations, and I know they will continue to be great leaders of our deeply talented and dedicated department."...

    Erik Neander, Rays VP of baseball operations
  4. Further quelling Maddon talk, Friedman says Mattingly is Dodgers '15 manager


    Matt Silverman made it pretty clear after taking over as president of baseball operations that Joe Maddon would manage the Rays in 2015, the last year of his current contract.

    And Andrew Friedman, in his first comments since leaving the Rays to take over the Dodgers, further quelled any speculation of a trade or brokered deal, saying Friday Don Mattingly would "definitely" manage in LA this season....

  5. Rays sign pitcher Michael Kohn

    The Heater

    The Rays signed RHP Michael Kohn to a major-league contract, filling their 40-man roster.

    Kohn, 28, spent parts of the last four seasons with the Angels, going 5-6 with a 3.67 ERA. Kohn (pronounced John) was on the Angels' 2014 opening day roster, but was optioned to Triple A on June 3 and spent most of the rest of the season there.

    In other news, former Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman will make his first public comments about leaving for the Dodgers in a news conference today at Dodger Stadium....

    DETROIT, MI - APRIL 20: Michael Kohn #58 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the eight inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 20, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
  6. Rays sign reliever Kohn


    The Rays signed RHP Michael Kohn to a major-league contract, filling their 40 man roster.

    Kohn, 28, spent parts of the last four seasons with the Angels, going 5-6 with a 3.67 ERA.

    Kohn (pronounced John) was on the Angels 2014 opening day roster, but was optioned to Triple A June 3 and spent most of the rest of the season there.
    - Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

    Sent from my iPhone...

  7. New Rays president optimistic about stadium talks

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On his first full day as president of the Tampa Bay Rays, Brian Auld was openly hopeful about what is likely to be the most daunting challenge of his tenure: getting a deal in place for a new stadium.

    "I'm optimistic," Auld said. "I think that things are going very well with (St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman). I think we're having productive talks. And I really look forward to seeing what the future brings....

    HO_Tampa Bay Rays team president Brian Auld handout- RAYS 388452
  8. Matt Silverman says Rays intend to keep Joe Maddon

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Until and if the Rays sign manager Joe Maddon to another multiseason extension, there will be speculation that he eventually will join departed top executive Andrew Friedman with the Dodgers.

    But as for the idea that Maddon could go — via trade or other brokered deal — in the next few months, new Rays baseball president Matt Silverman said Wednesday that there are no scenarios where Maddon doesn't manage the Rays in 2015....

    Matt Silverman, left, with manager Joe Maddon, moves from team president to president of baseball operations. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  9. Beliveau also named to MLB team touring Japan


    Rays LH reliever Jeff Beliveau also has been named to the MLB team that will tour Japan next month and compete in a five-game series against Japanese All-Stars and play several exhibitions.

    Believeau did well in his most extensive MLB action this past season, compiling a 2.63 ERA over 30 games and picking up his first big-league save. He is expected to be a key piece of the Rays bullpen next season....

  10. Andrew Friedman leaves Rays for Dodgers; Matt Silverman replaces him

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays have been able to maintain a run of unprecedented success, until this past season anyway, despite losing a series of star players.

    But they now are faced with a potentially much more daunting challenge as Andrew Friedman, the executive vice president who built those teams through shrewd moves and bold decisions, has left to join the Los Angeles Dodgers....

    Rays executive vice president, Andrew Friedman, left, and manager Joe Maddon. Friedman announced Tuesday he’s headed to the Dodgers.
  11. Hits, misses during Andrew Friedman's Rays tenure

    The Heater

    Andrew Friedman stayed busy in his nine seasons as Rays executive vice president, constantly churning the roster — including 54 trades that brought in 77 players — in search of ways to build the team and keep it competitive with one of the game's smallest budgets. Many of his deals and signings worked out, but not all. Here is a look at five of his best and worst decisions:

    The good … ...

  12. Matt Silverman, Brian Auld fill new roles with Tampa Bay Rays

    The Heater

    Matt Silverman

    Was: Team president

    Now: President of baseball operations

    Background: 38. … Joined Rays in 2004 as director of strategic planning, took over as president when Stuart Sternberg assumed ownership in October 2005. … Has overseen rebranding, stadium renovations and talks, business-side issues while also involved in baseball business. … Worked previously with Sternberg at Goldman Sachs brokerage in New York. … Has bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard. … Native of Dallas. … Lives in St. Petersburg with wife, Andrea, and daughter, Alexa....

    Matt Silverman, left, with manager Joe Maddon, moves from team president to president of baseball operations. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  13. Friedman leaving Rays for Dodgers


    UPDATE, 6:04: Some quick notes from the conference call:
    * Sternberg said he has always considered Silverman the top choice to take over if Friedman ever left, that he is "absolutely the right person."
    * Silverman said they will maintain the same basic philosophy, but there will be some new ideas they will incorporate as well.
    * Sternberg said Friedman won't be taking anyone from baseball ops with him.
    * Silverman said it was "a very difficult day" for him in seeing Friedman leave, but he was confident they would return to their winning ways.
    * Silverman said he has no plans to hire a GM or a senior adviser, and also that he doesn't expetc to be in the job for 10 years, as Friedman nearly was. Expect expanded roles for assistants Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander.
    * Sternberg said Auld will get involved in stadium talks "when and if they progress.''...

    Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman is leaving the Rays for the Dodgers.
  14. Rays' Longoria, Zobrist join all-star tour of Japan

    The Heater

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist will be part of an MLB all-star team that will tour Japan in mid November.

    The team will play a five-game series against a Japanese all-star team, plus exhibitions, in four cities from Nov. 11 through Nov. 20. Others committed to play include Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Angels first baseman Albert Pujols....

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) doubles to right center in the second inning during the New York Yankees against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, April 17, 2014.
  15. For Friedman, Rays remain nice fit

    The Heater

    There may well be a time when Andrew Friedman decides he has had enough of the increasingly uphill battle the Rays fight and is ready for a different challenge.

    There is talk that the Dodgers, who as of Saturday hadn't fired current GM Ned Colletti, nevertheless have Friedman atop their list to replace him. The Angels came hard for Friedman after the 2011 season, as did his hometown Astros. Interest by the Cubs became increasingly public at one point, other teams less obvious. If he sticks around, you can be sure there will be more....

    Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman shakes hands with outfielder Wil Myers during a workout at the Rays 2014 season Spring Training in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014.