12/07/13 The Heater
Making their pitch
Since executive VP Andrew Friedman took over after the 2005 season, the Rays have not been shy about trading pitchers, shipping out 26 in various deals. That includes four who were considered solid starters at the time.
RHP Edwin Jackson, to Tigers, Dec. 2008, for OF Matt Joyce
Evaluation: The Tigers got 13 wins and an All-Star season out of Jackson then used him in a deal to get RHP Max Scherzer. The Rays are still waiting for Joyce to become a consistent slugger though he was an All-Star in 2011....
12/07/13 The Heater
Rays' offseason thus far …
• C Ryan Hanigan: From Reds in 3-team trade, signed to 3-year, $10.75 million deal w/2017 option
• RHP Heath Bell: From D'backs in 3-team trade
• C Jose Molina: Signed 2-year, $4.5 million deal
• RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo: $2 million option declined, signed 1-year, $1.5 million deal...
12/07/13 The Heater
Start with this assumption: The Rays are going to trade David Price.
So really, it's just a matter of when.
The focus is on the now, as baseball's decisionmakers gather at Disney starting tonight for the annual winter meetings. The Rays certainly could make a deal soon — this week, or later this month, or in January — as a dozen-plus teams already have been speculated to be interested. Seattle is the hot rumor now, with more frenzied reports to follow....
Rays reliever Brandon Gomes and INF/OF Sean Rodriguez will visit the VETSports Wounded Warriors Softball Series on Sunday at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. Gomes and Rodriguez will meet with the participating teams at around 1 p.m.
12/06/13 The Heater
After stunning the baseball world Friday by luring All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano out of New York with a reported $240 million, 10-year offer, the Mariners may be next targeting Rays ace David Price.
As impressive as the addition of Cano would be, the Mariners need more to be competitive again, and general manager Jack Zduriencik, in the last year of his contract, has indicated a willingness to make further bold moves....
After stunning the baseball world Friday by luring All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano out of New York with a $240-million, 10-year offer, the Mariners may be next targeting Rays ace David Price.
As impressive as the addition of Cano will be, the Mariners need more to be become competitive again, and general manager Jack Zduriencik, in the last year of his contract, has indicated a willingness to make further bold moves....
12/06/13 The Heater
A lot of what the Rays will talk about at this week's winter meetings — and a vast majority of what is said about them — is likely to concern a potential trade of LHP David Price.
But even after what has, by their standards, been a busy start to the offseason, they still have more to do, primarily offensively.
"If the season opened tomorrow, I think we would feel pretty confident about our ability to keep runs off the board," executive VP Andrew Friedman said....
12/05/13 The Heater
Though Juan Carlos Oviedo didn't pitch for the Rays last season as he rehabbed from Tommy John elbow surgery, the right-hander impressed them enough to be re-signed for $1.5 million guaranteed, with another $1.4 million available in incentives.
"When we signed Juan Carlos last winter, we felt that when he returned to health, he could play a key role in our bullpen in 2014," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Thursday. "Observing his work ethic throughout the rehab process and getting to know him as a person has strengthened that feeling, and we're excited to have the chance to see this through."...
The Rays made official their deal to sign RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, signing him for $1.5-million guaranteed, with up to another $1.4-million available in incentives.
Oviedo, known formerly as Leo Nunez, spent 2013 with the Rays recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery but didn't pitch in any games. He logged 92 saves with a 3.86 ERA during 2009-11 with the Marlins, then missed the first part of 2012 due to a suspension stemming from age/identity fraud and was injured while working back into shape in the minors....
Former Rays OF Sam Fuld is receiving "lots of interest" since becoming a free agent on Monday night.
Fuld became a free agent when the Rays declined to tender him a contract. He was projected to make around $900,000 via arbitration.
Fuld has received calls from numerous teams. He and agent Jim Munsey are still in the process of collecting information then will start evaluating their options. No decision is imminent yet....
LHP Wesley Wright didn't stay unemployed for long after being non-tendered by the Rays on Monday, agreeing Wednesday night to a one-year, $1.425-million deal with the Cubs. The Rays said they would be open to possibly bringing Wright back later in the off-season, but there was immediate interest from several teams. He signed for close to what he was projected to make via arbitration had he stayed with the Rays....
12/04/13 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday's surprising trade that landed the Rays frontline catcher Ryan Hanigan and late-inning reliever Heath Bell for two minor-leaguers certainly looks promising now.
"Great job," manager Joe Maddon said.
But for it to actually pay off, the Rays are counting on two veteran players, both several years into their 30s, to make significant rebounds from recent poor performances....
Rays manager Joe Maddon had high praise for executive VP Andrew Friedman and staff in pulling off Tuesday's three-team trade to acquire reliever Heath Bell and catcher Ryan Hanigan for two minor-leaguers.
"Getting a late-inning, high-leverage, experienced reliever, like Heath, is necessary when it comes to getting to the playoffs, and advancing deeply,'' Maddon said via text message Wednesday....
UPDATE, 3:20: Though Loney's new agents haven't been talking, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan provided some framework for what Loney may be looking for based on this tweet: "James Loney started offseason seeking a four-year, $40M deal. Belief is he's now seeking something in the three-year, $27-30M range."
UPDATE, 2:29: Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman was much less specific on the pursuit of Loney:
"It's difficult for us to get into specifics. We're obviously looking for a first baseman. We need to figure out what we're going to do there,'' he said on a pre-winter meetings conference call. "But it's very premature to kind of speculate from our standpoint as to which direction we're going to go. What he meant to us last year, and the way he fit, has been very well documented. I just don't have a really good feel right now for how things are going to evolve.''...
Our colleague Stephen Nohlgren wrote all about the new flex ticket packages being offered and why the Rays are doing so in Tuesday's paper.
The team put out official details today, and here is that release:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have introduced new Flex Packs for the 2014 season including special Holiday Flex Packs now on sale through raysbaseball.com. Flex Packs are available in three-, six- or nine-game voucher packages and offer savings of up to 60 percent off the single-game ticket price. Three-game packs start at just $49, and for a limited time, all holiday Flex Packs include a special Wil Myers Rookie of the Year cap.
In addition to substantial savings, Flex Packs offer fans the flexibility to select the games of their choice and earn rewards throughout the season. Flex Pack buyers will have game vouchers loaded into an online account which may be exchanged online for any game during the 2014 regular season, subject to availability. Vouchers can be redeemed beginning February 10, 2014, before the general on sale for single game tickets, and up until six hours before the desired game. This redemption window gives fans added convenience in choosing the games they wish to attend.
All fans who purchase a Flex Pack will receive a special Rays Card (one card per Flex Pack purchased). The card will serve as their ticket to the game (paper tickets will not be issued). Card holders will also be able to load funds to the card that can be used to purchase concessions and merchandise throughout Tropicana Field. In using the Rays Cards, Flex Pack purchasers will also earn Blue membership status with the team. Blue members will earn a 5 percent bonus on all funds loaded to their Rays Cards and will receive other rewards and special promotions throughout the 2014 season. More Flex Pack details are available at raysbaseball.com....