10:37 PM EST, Mon November 18, 2019
5 hours ago
Looking for the “next” Tommy Pham

Looking for the “next” Tommy Pham

Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getting Pham for prospects in 2018 was a huge success. Can the Rays do it again? If you’re looking to improve the Tampa Bay Rays, a 90+ win team that made a strong playoff run, you have two roads to take. The first is through marginal improvements — making upgrades to part-time players to make the team a bit stronger than it was before. The easiest way to do so is through the team’s free agent openings (Avisail Garcia, Travis d’Arnaud, Eric Sogard), but it could also be done in upgrades to returning part-time contributors (Matt Duffy,...
11 hours ago
With Rule 5 deadline looming, Rays have several decisions to make

With Rule 5 deadline looming, Rays have several decisions to make

Michael Brosseau | Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/ Who might the Rays trade or designate this week? The first catalyst for moves approaches with the deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft on Wednesday. The Rays accomplished a lot of fat trimming on the 40 man roster at the trade deadline with minor deals trading Joe McCarthy, Andrew Velazquez, Hunter Wood, Jake Faria, Ryne Stanek, and Christian Arroyo. And there’s still work to be done, with two main roads to making room on the roster at this stage: Trades The Rays aren’t ones to be predictable. A year ago I thought...
11 hours ago
Three hitters in the NPB that could interest the Rays

Three hitters in the NPB that could interest the Rays

Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/ At least two of these names will land major league deals this offseason. Last week I highlighted three KBO pitchers I thought could contribute to the Rays in 2020. Now I’d like to turn my attention to the Nippon Professional Baseball organization, Japan’s major leagues, which offer a greater depth of opportunity for MLB teams to find talent ready to contribute next season. CF Shogo Akiyama (Entering age-32 season, Bats L/Throws R) 2019 stats : .303/.392/.471, 20 HR, 12 SB, 78 BB, 108 K Here’s an already-popular name to get us started. Japanese center...
13 hours ago
View from the Catwalk: Hey, remember that Chris Archer trade?

View from the Catwalk: Hey, remember that Chris Archer trade?

Photo by Patrick Smith/ 85 days until pitchers and catchers report UGH Not much is going on right now. Our friends over at Bucs Dugout revisit the Chris Archer trade from their side of the fence. As expected, there isn’t enough lipstick in the Alleghany River to make this pig presentable. More from Marc Carig at the Athletic ($$$) on the burgeoning cheating scandal that has taken over this offseason, including a report that a misunderstanding led to a camera-wielding Rays scout’s ejection from Yankee Stadium during the playoffs this season. Why a camera-wielding Rays scout was...
15 hours ago
Rays prospects and winter leagues: U.S. falls short in 1st Olympic qualifying attempt

Rays prospects and winter leagues: U.S. falls short in 1st Olympic qualifying attempt

If Jake Cronenworth is added to the 40-man roster, he won’t be on Team USA next time it tries to qualify for the Olympics | Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/ With a loss to rival Mexico in the bronze medal game, Team USA squandered a chance to qualify for the 2020 Games. For the second straight week, no Ray took an at-bat or pitched in an offseason league, but the Premier12 — which featured some current and former Rays — just ended. Mexico finished higher than the U.S., giving it the Americas slot in the Olympics that was up for grabs in this tournament. Team USA will still have a couple more...
Nov 15, 2019
View from the Catwalks: Warming Stove!

View from the Catwalks: Warming Stove!

Is this picture of the orange LED lights of the Trop related to the headline about baseball hot stove rumors? Just barely. Will I do it again this offseason? You’re damn right I will! | Photo by Julio Aguilar/ Plus: Rays bringing back one key 2019 contributor already, top 10 pictures of the Rays season, MVPs announced, and more Astros sign stealing drama! Top Photos of 2019 - The Ray Tank: Now we are on to the top 10 best photos from the 2019 Rays season. One of my favorite off the field things from the 2019 Rays season was the artist print series the Rays commissioned. The...
Nov 13, 2019
Howie Kendrick is a perfect fit for the Tampa Bay Rays

Howie Kendrick is a perfect fit for the Tampa Bay Rays

Photo by Elsa/ One of the earliest rumors of the offseason is the Tampa Bay Rays are interested in signing Howie Kendrick. The interest has led Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer to say, “a league source said it’s unlikely he signs with the Reds and the Tampa Bay Rays are the frontrunners to add him.” Kendrick was one of the heros in the playoffs for the Washington Nationals. In the tenth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS Kendrick hit a grand slam to plate the series winning runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. At one time Kendrick was the everyday second baseman for the Los...
Nov 13, 2019
Three pitchers in the KBO that could interest the Rays

Three pitchers in the KBO that could interest the Rays

Kwang-hyun Kim | Photo by Masterpress/ Including one former Rays farmhand! Around this time last year, I wrote about Merill Kelly as a potential player of interest for the Rays. The team that got Kelly was his hometown team, Arizona, who got small achievements through their investment (183.0 IP, 4.42 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 2.0 fWAR). It’s not a noticeable performance, but it’s a good one considering his cheap contract (2 years/$5.5M (2019-20), plus 2021-22 options). This offseason, there seems to be more MLB articles about players who played in Korea. MLB teams and their fans seem to...
Nov 13, 2019
View from the Catwalk: Sign stealing scandal in Houston

View from the Catwalk: Sign stealing scandal in Houston

Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via The Houston Astros have been caught cheating...again In the analogs of Rays history, one might remember a commercial being aired on Fox Sports Florida where the Rays had fans positioned somewhere in the stands or possible even in the catwalks. The fans would watch the catcher with binoculars and look closely for the signs, then they’d relay the signs back to the Rays hitter who was standing at the plate. Then the hitter, who I believe to be at the time was Carl Crawford, would take advantage and launch a ball into the seats. The play-by-play...
Nov 12, 2019
Erik Neander Named MLB’s 2019 Executive of the Year at the GM Meetings

Erik Neander Named MLB’s 2019 Executive of the Year at the GM Meetings

Neander was the runner-up in last year’s voting. Tampa Bay Rays Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations & General Manager Erik Neander has been named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. Neander was the runner up for the Award at its inauguration last year. The official Award is bestowed by MLB and resulted from voting among the 30 Clubs, each of which had one vote. The runner-up for the 2019 honor was Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees, while Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics and Derek Falvey of the Minnesota Twins tied...
Nov 11, 2019
Is Ryan Yarbrough the new model for pitchers?

Is Ryan Yarbrough the new model for pitchers?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Looking to see if inducing soft contact is indeed more important than ever in the Juiced Ball Era I have long been a Ryan Yarbrough skeptic. When he first arrived in the bigs (I’m less of a prospect hound than others, so this was basically my introduction to him), I saw a soft-tossing lefty with a pedestrian strikeout rate and good but not amazing groundball rate and thought This is a guy who will fool some batters for a couple months, but his long-term viability is highly questionable. When he rode the bulk role to a top-five finish in the Rookie of the...
Nov 11, 2019
Baseball Prospectus releases top 10 Rays prospects

Baseball Prospectus releases top 10 Rays prospects

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Wander Franco and Brendan McKay lead a deep organization. With the offseason underway, Baseball Prospectus has begun releasing its top-prospect lists, starting with the American League East. Having already covered the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox, Baseball Prospectus released the Tampa Bay Rays top 10 prospects list. SS Wander Franco LHP Brendan McKay RHP Shane Baz LHP Matthew Liberatore LHP Shane McClanahan 2B Vidal Brujan SS Greg Jones C Ronaldo Hernandez RHP Brent Honeywell RHP Joe Ryan Wander Franco, of course, is the Rays’...
Nov 11, 2019
Baseball America releases Tampa Bay Rays top 10 prospects list

Baseball America releases Tampa Bay Rays top 10 prospects list

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports The No. 1 prospect in baseball leads a deep list. The annual (Wander Franco) Baseball America (Wander Franco) prospect rankings (Wander Franco) are out. Wander Franco is at the top of the list for Tampa Bay once again as the prospect wunderkind dazzled during his sophomore season in the Rays system, displaying incredible ability for a player of his age against advanced competition. Meanwhile, Joe Ryan had a meteoric rise though the Rays’ prospect rankings — entering the season as an unheralded player only to suddenly start striking out every opposing...
Nov 11, 2019
View from the Catwalks

View from the Catwalks

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via The annual General Managers meeting kicks off and the Rookie of the year results come in. Today kicks off the annual General Managers meeting — not to be confused with the Winter Meeting that takes place in December. It’s usually more of a nuts and bolts meeting, but when you get all those GMs together in one place, sometimes things happen. They did so just last year when the Rays acquired Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia in the Mallex Smith trade. Marc Topkin writes about the meeting here. In other Rays news, we will find out today that...
Nov 9, 2019
Injuries impacted the offensive potential of several Rays

Injuries impacted the offensive potential of several Rays

Photo by Tim Warner/ Tommy Pham and Brandon Lowe could have had insane seasons In a Friday article, we explained that by most statistical measures, Austin Meadows was the Rays best hitter of 2019. But for those watching all season, there were other powerhouses at the plate who seemed like more likely candidates for that title. Specifically Tommy Pham and Brandon Lowe, whose seasons were hampered by injury, which changed the trajectory of their offensive onslaught. Because both were injured in July — July 2 for Lowe, July 28 for Pham — we’re going to take a look at their first half...