Adames is one of 25 players taking part in the Rays' Winter Development Program this week at Tropicana Field. It's the eighth year of the program and a way for the team to monitor the offseason progress of its top prospects.
After enhancing their outfield depth this offseason, the Rays cleared some of the excess on Wednesday, trading Mikie Mahtook to the Tigers for a player to be named or cash considerations.
Mahtook batted .295 with nine home runs and a .970 OPS in 115 plate appearances during his 2015 debut season with the Rays. But the 27-year-old, right-handed batter hit just .195 with three homers and a .523 OPS over 196 big league plate appearances last year.
The Tampa Bay area will always have reason to thank Fred McGriff for returning home to provide leadership during the expansion Devil Rays' first season. But thoughts of celebrating his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame have steadily dwindled over the past decade.
When this year's Hall of Fame balloting results were announced on Wednesday night, it was revealed McGriff received a vote on 21.3 percent of the ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. A player must receive a vote on 75 percent of the ballots to be elected. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were voted into the class of 2017.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Bagwell, Raines, Pudge elected to Hall of Fame
Astros slugger makes it on 7th try, leadoff man enters in final year, backstop in 1st year
By Barry M. Bloom
NEW YORK -- For Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, a long wait has ended. For Ivan Rodriguez, there was no wait at all.
Those three players will be part of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2017, taking their place alongside the game's legends in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30, with Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz, who were elected last month by the 16-member Today's Game Committee. The news arrived on Wednesday evening, when Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson announced the Baseball Writers' Association of America's results live on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. Andrew Simon, who is a research analyst for MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Rays reportedly close to signing Tolleson
By Matt Kelly
The Rays are on the verge of signing free-agent reliever Shawn Tolleson, according to a report by the Tampa Bay Times. The club has not confirmed the report.
Tolleson, who turns 29 this week, spent his past three Major League seasons with the Rangers before declining an assignment to Triple-A Round Rock. He became a free agent last October.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Throughout the offseason, the baseball world has waited for the Rays to trade one of their coveted starting pitchers. That became a reality Wednesday, when they sent Drew Smyly to the Mariners.
In exchange for the left-hander, the Rays got outfielder Mallex Smith, Minor League shortstop Carlos Vargas and Minor League left-hander Ryan Yarbrough.
Do you think Kevin Kiermaier can avoid getting injured this season? And can his offense ever catch up to his defense?
-- Dominic R., Orlando, Fla.
Kiermaier truly is an amazing center fielder. I often tell people that one of the cool things about watching baseball every day is being able to appreciate the range different players have. For the Rays, I've seen Melvin Upton Jr. and Carl Crawford cover enough ground that I once asked former Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon in jest if he ever considered going with a Cover 2 fielding alignment, using just Upton and Crawford in the outfield and adding an extra infielder. Now, to be able to see the ground covered by Kiermaier is extraordinary. He is a game-changer.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow him on Twitter at @_wwchastain. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced
Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.
The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs.
ARLINGTON -- Former Rangers pitcher Jackie Brown, who was known as the "Oklahoma Curveballer" and later became a Major League pitching coach for three organizations, has passed away after a long illness. He was 73.
Brown pitched for the Washington Senators in 1970-71, the Rangers in '73-'75, the Indians in '75-'76 and the Expos in '77. He had a career record of 47-53 with a 4.18 ERA in 214 games, including 105 starts.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Nobody mentions Corey Dickerson when talking about the 2017 starting lineup. Did the Rays lose patience with him?
-- Jake B., Jacksonville, Fla.
Dickerson remains very much in Tampa Bay's plans for next season. While he had a slow start to his first year with the Rays, he finished strong, hitting .307 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in September. For the season, Dickerson tied a career best with 24 homers.
On Thursday morning, the Rays began the construction for the five-week build of a Habitat for Humanity home for a family of six. The effort is part of the organization's "Rays Up for Our Community" program.
ST. PETERSBURG -- A little more than one month remains before the Rays report to Port Charlotte, Fla., for Spring Training, and there might not be as much offseason work left to do as one would think.
Heading into the offseason following a 68-win season, Tampa Bay could have declared its intentions to rebuild. Ostensibly, that would have meant shipping some of the team's higher-priced players to contending teams for prospects. However, based on the Wilson Ramos signing, the Rays appear set on trying to be contenders in the American League East this season.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays faced an interesting situation entering the offseason. The good news was they were set at almost every position. The bad news was most of those players were part of a 68-win season.
So the Rays' front office had to roll up its collective sleeves and determine what went wrong in 2016 and what would help turn the club in a winning direction for '17.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Most amazing American League games of 2016
By Doug Miller
The Indians came thisclose to bringing a World Series title home to their fans and to the American League after an amazing 2016 season. Taking the Chicago Cubs to the 10th inning of the seventh game of the Fall Classic was just about as memorable as it gets.
But the Indians were one of 15 teams in the AL, and each one had its own Game of the Year. In consultation with the MLB.com beat reporters for every team, here are the best individual games for each AL club during another fantastic year in Major League Baseball:
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Mississippi State wins St. Pete Bowl vs. Miami at Trop
Blocked field goal in final seconds seals Bulldogs' victory
By David Wilson
Special to MLB.com |
ST. PETERSBURG -- The sound inside Tropicana Field was familiar, even if the source and time of year were different. Cowbells clanged through the Trop throughout pregame festivities and every time Miami (Ohio) faced a third down. They rattled whenever the Mississippi State Bulldogs drove into the end zone or popped a kick through the uprights.
And with five seconds left in the game, Tropicana Field flashed back to 2008, when the sound of cowbells surged. Nelson Adams reached the highest for MSU, but a whole horde of teammates burst through the center of the line on a 37-yard field-goal attempt by Miami. The defensive lineman batted down Nick Dowd's kick. There would be no walk-off at the Trop. Mississippi State held on for a 17-16 win in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
I realize that frequent questions are raised regarding the Rays' ongoing issues at the catcher position, but it appears the same questions should be raised regarding the shortstop position. Since Jason Bartlett, there has been a constant progression at the position. Is shortstop actually a bigger hole for the Rays than catcher?
-- Mike M., Bradenton, Fla.
While I understand your point that shortstop might be a bigger hole for the Rays than catcher, I don't agree. Yes, the Rays have had a lot of different shortstops, as they have catchers. However, the club has had success at the shortstop position, while it has had little, if any, behind the plate. Looking at the current situation, I do like the way Matt Duffy plays the position, even if the club did have to trade Matt Moore to get him. I do agree with you that it's been a frustrating spot, though. Just not as frustrating as catcher.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Former Rays hitting coach Steve Henderson highlighted Tuesday's announcements of Tampa Bay's 2017 Minor League on-field coaching and medical staffs.
Henderson, 64, served as the Rays' big league hitting coach in 1998 and from 2006-09. He'll take over for Chad Mottola as the Minor League hitting coordinator. Mottola held the position the past three seasons prior to being promoted to Major League hitting coach in September.