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With the Rays still under orders to trim payroll, outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson is a strong candidate to be moved.
Times With the Rays still under orders to trim payroll, outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson is a strong candidate to be moved.
Published Feb. 5, 2018|Updated Feb. 5, 2018

So now that that football game is over, the countdown is on to the start of spring training.

For the Rays, it begins early next week in Port Charlotte, with a report/administrative day on Feb. 13 and the first workout for — cue the magic words — pitchers and catchers on Feb. 14. (Valentine's Day with Kevin Cash!)

With the trade of franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria; a dozen players, led by Alex Cobb, off the roster via free agency; and a makeover of the coaching and athletic training staff, there will be a number of new faces in different places.

And more changes are coming, as the Rays have yet to address ownership's directive to cut payroll — they are actually up a few million from this time last year. That means some veterans from the group of closer Alex Colome; infielder Brad Miller; starters Jake Odorizzi or, less likely, Chris Archer; and outfielders Corey Dickerson and/or Denard Span are still going to be moved.

One other thing: Rest assured there will be spring training as planned. The players union Sunday put out a statement clarifying that despite some chatter last week and onerous comments from individual agents in response to the cool free-agent market, there are no plans for a spring boycott: "No such threat has been made, nor has the union recommended such a course of action."

Rays key dates
Wednesday: Announcement/reveal of 20th anniversary patch, promotions, plans.
Saturday: Fan Fest, Tropicana Field, 11-4, free admission and parking.
Feb. 14: First workout for pitchers and catchers, Port Charlotte.
Feb. 19: First full-squad workout, Port Charlotte.
Feb. 23: First exhibition games — vs. Pirates in Port Charlotte and at Orioles in Sarasota, 1:05 p.m.
March 29: Regular-season opener vs. Red Sox, Tropicana Field, 4 p.m.

Rays spring roster (unofficial)
Based on returning players, announced additions and a few reported signings, here is our unofficial compilation of the Rays spring roster. While deep in pitching and dotted with prospects, the Rays are obviously short in some key areas — a starting first baseman (it's Brad Miller by default as of now), overall power and experienced relievers. Here is how it looks as of now, with nonroster invitees marked with an X:
x-Ruben Alaniz
Jose Alvarado-L
Matt Andriese
Chris Archer
Diego Castillo
Yonny Chirinos
Alex Colome
Jose De Leon
Nathan Eovaldi
Jake Faria
x-Ian Gibaut
x- Cody Hall
Brent Honeywell
Chih-Wei Hu
Dan Jennings-L
Andrew Kittredge
x-Adam Kolarek-L
Jose Mujica
x-Colton Murray
x-Vidal Nuno-L
Jake Odorizzi
Austin Pruitt
Chaz Roe
Jaime Schultz
Blake Snell-L
x-Forrest Snow
Ryne Stanek
x-Jonny Venters-L
x-Ryan Weber
Hunter Wood
Ryan Yarbrough-L
x-Xorge Carrillo
x-Nick Ciuffo
x-Johnny Monell
x-Adam Moore
Wilson Ramos
Jesus Sucre
Willy Adames
Christian Arroyo
Jake Bauers
Matt Duffy
Adeiny Hechavarria
Micah Johnson
x-Joe McCarthy
Brad Miller
Daniel Robertson
Ryan Schimpf
Joey Wendle
x-Kean Wong
x-Jason Coats
Corey Dickerson
x-Johnny Field
Kevin Kiermaier
Mallex Smith
x-Brandon Snyder
Steven Souza Jr.
Denard Span
Justin Williams

Rays spring schedule
Spring training tickets are on sale; see or call 888-326-7297 for more information. Home games are played at the Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte.
Feb. 23 (ss) Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
(ss) at Orioles, 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 24 at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Twins, 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 26 Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 27 Orioles, 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 28 at Twins (ss), 1:05 p.m.
March 1 Orioles, 1:05 p.m.
March 2 Phillies, 1:05 p.m.
March 3 at Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
March 4 at Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
March 5 Off
March 6 Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
March 7 Orioles, 1:05 p.m.
March 8 at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
March 9 Twins, 1:05 p.m.
March 10 at Phillies, 1:05 p.m.
March 11 Twins, 1:05 p.m.
March 12 Off
March 13 at Phillies, 1:05 p.m.
March 14 at Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
March 15 Twins, 1:05 p.m.
March 16 at Twins, 1:05 p.m.
March 17 at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
March 18 Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
March 19 at Yankees, 6:35 p.m.
March 20 at Orioles, 6:05 p.m.
March 21 Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
March 22 at Blue Jays (ss), 1:05 p.m.
March 23 (ss) Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m.
(ss) at Orioles., 1:05 p.m.
March 24 at Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
March 25 Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
March 26 at Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
March 27 Tigers at Tropicana Field, 12:35 p.m.
March 28 Workout
March 29 Season opener vs. Red Sox at Trop

Marc Topkin can be reached at Follow @TBTimes_Rays