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Rays ‘want to believe’ the Astros didn’t cheat in the ALDS

The cheating scandal and sign-stealing investigation will be a popular topic during this week’s winter meetings.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20), right, and Tampa Bay Rays catcher Travis d'Arnaud (37) walk back to the dugout after the first inning in Game 5 of the American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Houston. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20), right, and Tampa Bay Rays catcher Travis d'Arnaud (37) walk back to the dugout after the first inning in Game 5 of the American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Houston. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Dec. 9, 2019
Updated Dec. 9, 2019

SAN DIEGO – A major topic of conversation around the winter meetings that opened Sunday will be the accusations, and ongoing investigations, of the Astros cheating by stealing signs via technology.

Details about their alleged past improprieties have come out since the Rays lost a five-game Division Series to the Astros, but GM Erik Neander and manager Kevin Cash said they don’t have any evidence of anything improper then, even with the pitch-tipping issue involving Game 5 starter Tyler Glasnow.

“No,’’ Neander said. “I should say, I don't know. I hope not. I don't believe so. We could have taken care of our own business better when it came to the inner workings and the detail of the game. … And that's not to be overly critical by any means. I think they outplayed us over the course of five games. They beat us. Believe they did it fair and square. Or at minimum want to believe they did in fair and square. And I'll operate with that assumption as long as I'm able.’’

Cash had a similar take on the possibility of the Astros cheating in that series.

“That’s an easy no for me,’’ Cash said, “because I know that MLB was very much involved in regulating everything that could be going on.’’

He noted the presence of MLB personnel in the dugouts, and their vigilance, in feeling nothing was improper or untoward.

“In the postseason, I do not,’’ Cash said. “If they say, what about during the regular season, I can’t say. I don’t know. We’re going to find out more in the coming days, weeks, whatever.’’

Hall call for Ted Simmons, union founder Marvin Miller

Eight-time All-Star catcher Ted Simmons and players union pioneer Marvin Miller were elected to the Hall of Fame on Sunday by the Modern Era committee. Election from the 10 candidates who made the bulk of their contributions from 1970-87 required 12 votes from the 16-member panel. Simmons, who got little support during his 15 years on the BBWAA ballot, got 13 votes, Miller 12. Tampa native Steve Garvey received six votes.

Simmons, a switch-hitting catcher, played 21 seasons with the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves from 1968-88, hitting .285 with 2,472 hits, 248 homer, 1,389 RBI.

Miller took over the union in 1966 and was credited with securing free agency for players and significantly increasing their salaries.

Miscellany

Talks on the Gerrit Cole, the top free-agent starter, are heating up, with the Yankees reportedly preparing to offer a seven-year, $245 million contract. That would surpass ex-Ray David Price’s record $217 million deal with Boston and the $34.4 million annual average of Zack Greinke’s deal. The Dodgers and Angels are among the others most interested. … Cash takes his turn in the meetings media room Monday afternoon. … Lakeland native Keon Broxton signed a minor-league deal with the Brewers, for whom he played in 2016-18.

Contact Marc Topkin at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

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