1. Rays

Silverman consulting with Rays players on key decisions

WARMING UP: Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb takes a few practice cuts with a plastic bat.
Published Mar. 8, 2015

Much of what Matt Silverman has done since taking over as head of Rays baseball operations is similar to what Andrew Friedman did before him.

But one thing he has done differently — and interestingly — is soliciting opinions from a small group of key players before making decisions on hiring manager Kevin Cash and other moves and changes.

"We're all in this together, and every opinion matters," Silverman said. "As we were considering such an important decision, we felt that the players had an important voice. It opened up conversations about their feelings not just on the manager position, but the organization and how it operates.

"And I believe those conversations led to some outcomes, and to better dialogue between the front office and the clubhouse. … There are certain things I learned that I wasn't aware of, and wouldn't have known, given my prior position. The more information that we have, the better decisions we can make."

Whereas Friedman was often in the clubhouse and would talk to players informally, Silverman kept more of a distance in his role as team president.

Two of the veterans polled, RHP Alex Cobb and 3B Evan Longoria, said they appreciated the opportunity to share their thoughts on a variety of topics with the new boss.

"It told me that they were invested in their players, that they were very inclusive and willing to look at the bigger picture," Cobb said. "You felt a part of the organization. You felt like your word was heard, and that goes a long way. A lot of players want to have that feeling that their viewpoint is valued, and here it is."

Longoria said it was a good move. "Matt was trying to get a sense of what things we liked and what things we didn't like. … I think he understands that some of those answers are only answers you can get from within the clubhouse."

WIL NOT THRILLED: Former Rays OF Wil Myers told CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that he saw the trade to San Diego the same way many others did: "It almost felt like they had given up on me. That only motivates me more."

Myers — whom the Padres plan to play in centerfield — said he was surprised and "a little frustrated" by the trade, "just because I liked Tampa Bay."

And he said he has heard a few things through the grapevine about Rays people saying he didn't take direction well, and that he couldn't hit sliders, to which he replied, "I hit plenty of those in 2013."

RAYS RUMBLINGS: Longtime and always entertaining Trop stadium host Rusty Kath is cutting back on his schedule to spend more time with his family, and the Rays are actively seeking a replacement. … Updated odds from the online site Bovada still have the Rays at 66-1 to win the World Series (third highest), 28-1 to get there (second highest), 7-1 to win the AL East (highest). … Randy Frankel, a member of the Rays' ownership group, is reportedly among the bidders for the NBA Atlanta Hawks. … One thought in assembling the Rays' opening day roster: Would they start with a 14th position player or eighth reliever, then swap for a fifth starter when needed? … With OF Hunter Pence sustaining a broken arm, the Giants would seem to join the teams that could have interest in Rays' likely-to-be-traded David DeJesus. … One longshot player making a good first impression is LHP Robert Zarate. … Rule 5 draft pick C Oscar Hernandez remains a viable candidate for the D'backs backup job.


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