ST. PETERSBURG — Navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic-disrupted and delayed 2020 season was challenging for a communication-oriented manager such as Kevin Cash.
The lockout will pose new challenges, as team officials are forbidden from having any contact with players on the 40-man roster.
“It’ll be very tough,” Cash said Wednesday morning when asked about the potential impact.
“It’s going to be surreal, weird, strange. I mean, we dealt with some weird stuff with the pandemic in 2020. Not … comparing the two, but this is going to be very strange, as well.
“We didn’t have any answers during the pandemic, but we were able to communicate with the players. Now we don’t have any answers, and we’re not allowed to communicate whatsoever. And from my understanding, it’s going to be a pretty hard line that you just cut off communication (once the lockout starts).”
Among myriad issues, players rehabbing injuries can no longer use team facilities or work with team staff, which Cash said was “unfortunate.”
Pitchers Nick Anderson, Yonny Chirinos and Tyler Glasnow are among those who have been working out at Tropicana Field under the supervision of the Rays’ athletic trainers; they will now have to do so at private clinics, following standard protocols, and be unable to consult with the team.
Also barred are healthy players who might want to work out at the Trop, such as newly signed pitcher Corey Kluber, who lives in the Tampa area. Kluber said it’s not that big of a deal, since he was used to working out on his own during the winter, but he hopes the lockout doesn’t last long.
“I think everybody’s hope is just that everything gets figured out as soon as possible and we can kind of put it all behind us and get back to playing baseball,” Kluber said.
Life of Raley
Cash said he was pleased with the addition of free agent reliever Brooks Raley, noting how the lefty piles up strikeouts while limiting walks and hard contact. Cash said the Rays “very much view him as a back-end-type weapon for us, whether it’s righties or lefties,” the kind of high-leverage role Raley — a starter in Korea from 2015-19 — said he wanted.
Raley’s contract, which pays him $4.25 million in 2022 and $4.5 million in 2023, with either a $1.25 million buyout or $6.5 million option for 2024, contains some interesting incentive clauses. Those are based on how he is used, which could push the total value of the deal over three years to $19.35 million. Using a seemingly unique points system, Raley’s option would increase by $1 million if he has 25 appearances in 2022 or 2023 (and $2 million if both) in which he gets nine or more outs. In each of the three years, he can earn up to an additional $700,000 working 10-25 games getting nine or more outs. Or, in what seems like an opener clause, he can get $100,000 each year he starts 20 games and gets eight or fewer outs.
Raley also gets the right to become a free agent at the end of his contract even though he wouldn’t have the standard six years service time.
• Rays third-base coach Rodney Linares was fired Wednesday as manager of the Escogido team in the Dominican Republican after a 13-15 start, one game out of a playoff spot with 13 to play.
• Cash said Tuesday’s trade of well-liked infielder Joey Wendle to the Marlins was “a tough moment” to handle. “Just so appreciative of him, what he’s meant to our club, what he’s meant to our organization,” Cash said. “All these players are special in their own way. Joey has consistently stood out, just the way he’s performed and how selfless he’s been in doing it. And we were very fortunate to be around him for the (four years). He was just such a massive part of our team in providing so many different roles.”
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