Winter meetings preview: Rays rumblings

Remember Delmon Young? He's still taking his swings in Venezuela.
Delmon Young shown during his 2007 season with the Devil Rays. {Times files}
Delmon Young shown during his 2007 season with the Devil Rays. {Times files}
Published December 7 2018

Delmon Young, yes, that Delmon Young, now 33, last weekend won a home run derby over big-league stars Ronald Acuna Jr., Willson Contreras and Eugenio Suarez put on by the Venezuelan league, where Young is hitting .302 with 13 homers, 35 RBI and a .908 OPS in 44 games. He previously played in Mexico; last in the majors in 2015.

As the Rays head into their 11th spring in Port Charlotte without a naming rights deal for the stadium, the Braves got one for the stadium at their new for 2020 facility in neighboring North Port, home of CoolToday Park. The teams play a sneak peek game March 24, 2019.

RHPs Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell both started throwing off mounds in their recoveries from Tommy John surgery targeting June-ish returns.

Team execs have "late-night drinks appointments" planned at the winter meetings with departed staffers such as Rocco Baldelli and Charlie Montoyo, who got manager jobs.

Former Rays minor-league RHP Merrill Kelly's return from Korea worked as he got a two-year, $5.5 million guaranteed deal with Arizona, plus two options.

Kevin Ferris, a predictive modeling analyst in the baseball research and development department, left to head up the Angels R&D group.

Longtime Rays strength and conditioning coach Kevin Barr is back in the majors with the Marlins.

Newly hired mental skills coach Justin Su'a will spend spring training with the Rays and 15 days a month during the season, as he will continue working for the NFL Browns.