Full details of the new collective bargaining agreement are still being finalized and distributed, but Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman said they haven't particularly liked what they've heard in terms of getting help to close the gap in competitive balance.
"Disappointed in what we've seen so far,'' Silverman said. "I'm not optimistic about the CBA in terms of helping us as a lower-revenue club.''
While there were changes to the luxury tax, free agent compensation and international signing systems that would seem to provide some benefit to lower-revenue clubs, Silverman said they were hoping for more, specifically in changes to give them more and/or higher picks in the amateur draft.
"Lower revenue clubs face a lot of obstacles, especially when it comes to talent acquisition,'' Silverman said. "We can't go out and spend like other clubs so we need to find other avenues to be able to acquire that talent. We've looked for additional access on the amateur side, on the international side, and there haven't been any major changes in the last 10 years, and in fact the revenue disparity between clubs has grown by an immense amount.''
Silverman's comments came during a media session at the Trop in advance of next week's winter meetings, where the Rays will look to make additions to their bullpen, catching and outfield/DH spots.
Here are some other notes from the session:
* Manager Kevin Cash said bolstering bullpen is "probably at the forefront for me," both internally and externally.
* They are looking, as many are, for catching help but also Cash said they are "very optimistic" about Curt Casali.
* Cash has talked to RHP Chris Archer and 3B Evan Longoria about trade rumors, and reiterated how they are "special players" to the Rays and "we're very committed to those guys"
* Cash mentioned RHP Ryne Stanek first among pitchers added to #Rays roster who could help from bullpen, then RHP Jamie Schultz. He said they are seeking power arms.
* Cash said SS Matt Duffy (left heel surgery) is "very much ahead of schedule" in rehab, that his boot is off, and that he had some atrophy he has worked through.
* Cash said OF Steven Souza Jr. (left hip surgery) is doing well and feeling good about his rehab.
* Cash said Nick Franklin last season "played himself into a very valuable role" for the upcoming season due to his versatility.
Cash said he's fine with Archer and RHP Alex Colome playing in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, and knows they will prepare properly and not let it impact their regular season.