Dear Readers,

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating, and by sharing our work. Thank you.

  1. Rays

Arbitration not too painful to Rays' Smyly

Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly calls his arbitration hearing “an ordeal” but says he didn’t take any of it personally.

PORT CHARLOTTE — Sitting through a nearly four-hour arbitration hearing a few weeks ago wasn't among the best times of LHP Drew Smyly's life, but he said the experience didn't prove to be too painful — especially since he won.

"It's an interesting process, part of the business," he said. "That's what my agency and the players' association is there for. They kind of take over and handle everything. I'm just kind of a body."

Each side gets a window to present its case, so Smyly had to listen as the Rays reps argued why he deserved a $3.2 million salary rather than $3.75 million.

"It's an ordeal," he said. "They say a lot of stuff. Both sides. It's a process, takes a few hours. I just sat there and listened. You don't take it offensively. Me and (baseball operations president) Matt (Silverman) talked before the hearing started just to make sure we knew. We get it."

Smyly said his agents, led by Darek Braunecker, asked him if he wanted to have a hearing rather than settle, and he left the decision up to them, viewing it as more of the union vs. MLB than Smyly vs. Rays.

"I was happy with the outcome," he said.

LESSON LEARNED DEPT.: After being scolded, educated or called out — whatever phrase you prefer — by All-Star ace RHP Chris Archer for not arriving early enough for Sunday's 9 a.m. first workout, prospects RHP Jacob Faria and LHP Blake Snell weren't taking chances Monday.

"We were here right at 7," Faria said. "Bright and early. We didn't want to risk it."

Archer's point, which he made in front of reporters, was that Rays starting pitchers have a legacy program of arriving early and working hard, and they needed to adhere to that plan.

SNELL DEAL?: Snell said "I don't know anything" about discussions on a long-term deal, which the Tampa Bay Times reported Sunday have been held, at least preliminarily. No deal is imminent, but if one were to be consummated Snell could be in a very small group of players to be signed before making their big-league debuts.

MORE MOORE: LHP Matt Moore, who returned last season from Tommy John elbow surgery, looked sharp in his first bullpen session, pleased with what he did and how he felt.

"Matt Moore picked up right where he left off from the Trop, looked really under control," manager Kevin Cash said.

J-LO REPORT: 1B James Loney, whose future with the team is in question based on other acquisitions, reported in noticeably better shape. "He looks great, he swung the bat great, he seemed very energetic," Cash said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Steven Souza Jr. said there were "no updates" on the status of his left intercostal strain, with no specific plans yet to see a specialist or have an MRI exam. "It's maybe a little better if anything," he said.

TV TIME: Fox Sports Sun will show five Rays spring games, televising March 12 vs. the Yankees, March 27 vs. the Blue Jays and March 30 vs. the Red Sox and picking up opposing broadcasts March 8 vs. the Tigers and March 23 vs. the Twins. … Fox's pre-, in- and postgame game host Todd Kalas reported to camp.

MISCELLANY: OF Kevin Kiermaier, 3B Evan Longoria and invitee OF Dayron Varona, the only Cuban player on the spring roster, arrived in camp Monday. Only OF Desmond Jennings and non-roster INF Juniel Querecuto have not reported early; the first full-squad workout is Friday. … Cash mentioned RHP Jaime Schultz and Faria as two of the young pitchers who caught his eye. … The Rays are still waiting for MLB to make an official announcement of a planned March 20-22 trip to Cuba. … Though free agent SS Ian Desmond has one less option with the White Sox signing Jimmy Rollins, he is still quite unlikely to end up with the Rays.