Rays land Ramos, talk other deals at Meetings

Rays land Ramos, talk other deals at Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rays have not been a team to make headlines at the Winter Meetings. However, they did grab the spotlight when news broke Tuesday night that they had agreed to terms with catcher Wilson Ramos on a two-year deal.

Though the club has not confirmed the deal, sources confirmed the deal to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Tuesday.

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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.

In Rule 5 Draft, Rays take righty Gadea from M's

Club gets Hensley, Munoz in Triple-A phase; Mortensen goes to Astros

In Rule 5 Draft, Rays take righty Gadea from M's

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Major League Baseball's Rule 5 Draft took place Thursday morning, and the Rays escaped relatively unscathed.

The Rule 5 Draft served as the final event at the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C.

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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.

Ramos hot topic at Cash's media session

Free-agent catcher's deal with Rays not yet official

Ramos hot topic at Cash's media session

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- While the baseball world awaits the official announcement that the Rays have signed free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year contract -- pending his passing a physical -- the club remains mum on the deal.

That situation put manager Kevin Cash in an awkward situation Wednesday during his early-morning media session.

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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.

Source: Rays, Ramos agree on 2-year deal

Source: Rays, Ramos agree on 2-year deal

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rays addressed their desire to upgrade the catching situation on Tuesday night when they agreed with free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos on a two-year deal -- pending a physical -- sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

The club has not confirmed the deal.

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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.

Rays may gauge value for Archer at Meetings

Neander says Red Sox trade for Sale is 'reference point'

Rays may gauge value for Archer at Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rays did not trade Chris Archer on the second day of the Winter Meetings. Life in the American League East did become a little more interesting, though, on Tuesday.

The Red Sox made a bold move to acquire lefty ace Chris Sale from the White Sox for four prospects, thereby giving the Rays' division rival a huge boost with its starting pitching.

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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.

Winter Meetings interview with Kevin Cash

Q. We'll start with what you can't talk about, what about Wilson Ramos?
KEVIN CASH: He's an exciting player. Obviously nothing has been formally announced and we are going to stay pretty vague about that, it's kind of our policy. As we've said throughout the entire off-season, we've kind of been in the market looking for catching, and he's a guy among many that we've discussed and we like a lot of things that he's capable of doing.

Q. Along those hypothetical lines, what are some of the things that a guy like Wilson Ramos does that you might like?
KEVIN CASH: Obviously the offensive profile; the fact that he's gone out, understanding that he had an injury, but before, prior to that, he had gone out and caught over a hundred games, I think, a couple years, back-to-back. To find those guys that are capable, and then showing a track record of being able to do that, you put yourself in a special category, because this game is continuing to evolve and change, and you just don't see that type of catcher, or that many of them, that can go out and contribute that much.

Q. Just one more thing on him. If you were to get a guy like that, who is a veteran, who can also have a good read on your pitching staff, which is always really important?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, look, if we were able to get a guy like that, like you said, he's a guy that comes with some history of catching some really good pitchers. We have some good pitchers. So I think we'd be confident that that would be a real positive balance for our club.

Q. Home runs were up this year a lot, particularly throughout depth of lineups. Does that have any impact on how you manage a game?
KEVIN CASH: No, I don't think so. But I agree, there were home runs that were up. I think our pitchers probably caught the brunt of it more than what we would like. You know, I think for the most part, the Rays, we consider our ballpark to be a pitcher's ballpark. I don't know if it always played like that this past year.

I mean, you look at Chris Archer's season and you take away ten home runs and he basically had the exact season that he had the year before when we were talking about how special he was; he's still very special. Where those ten home runs came from, I don't think it's all -- nobody quite has to find -- I'm sure a couple mislocated pitches, but it did trickle out throughout the American League that we saw quite a bit. There were a lot of what appeared to be fly balls getting out of the ballpark.

Q. But nothing strategically, no impact on your staff?
KEVIN CASH: No, I think if you're managing to try to avoid the home run and you get caught doing that too many times, it's going to eventually -- it's going to burn you.

Look, lineups are built these days where I think most everybody in the lineup is capable of hitting a home run. It's part of the game. You just kind of follow that along, knowing that it's possible.

Q. You're trying to pick up some wins in the standings. You've talked about you can't just hit the table and have the same players get the 25 wins you need. How much harder is it going to be after what Boston did yesterday?
KEVIN CASH: Well, I mean, you know what, they acquired a really, really good pitcher. The nice thing about Boston is they have already got a bunch of really good pitchers.

I love the way our guys kind of rose to those challenges throughout the course of the year. The other left-hander they have that we all know really well is pretty special, too. We had some really good games against him. Chris Sale is obviously as talented as anybody in the game, and he's going to present challenges. But it's something that I think our guys will be excited about. It will just add to -- kind of add to the competition in the AL East. It is what it is. That's how it works.

Q. In an ideal world, what would be a good profile for this outfield bat, DH kind of guy you're looking for?
KEVIN CASH: Well, I think there's a couple different options, because mainly, with the flexibility of Corey Dickerson and Souza, to an extent. We know KK is going to be in center field, and Souza and Corey, are going to be -- primarily they are going to be out there. They are going to get some DH at-bats.

Personally, I like the speed factor, and a guy that is capable of playing some center field. I mean, we all saw what took place when KK got hurt. He's a special player. We're not going to go find Kevin Kiermaier-type defense to fill in, if there's an off-day here or there or on injury. But to have a guy to come in to kind of hold center field down would be great.

Q. Rays have so many good pitchers and rumors one of them might go in a trade. Do you imagine that because they are probably going to sign Wilson Ramos, that means probably that they don't have to wait too much in the future and you don't have to trade a specialist? What do you think about that?
KEVIN CASH: As a manager, you don't want to trade any of them, because what we've seen the last two years, you can never have enough starting pitching, and we do have a talented group. You know, we've got a good group of guys that are going to come back and they're going to be hungry to perform like they know they are capable of. That being said, I mean, that's what we get calls about.

Leading up to the Winter Meetings, during the Winter Meetings, everybody wants to talk about our starting pitching, because it's so valuable and it's so tough to find. It's a luxury for us to be able to have that, but I don't want to see any of them go.

Q. Looking at your bullpen for next year, how important is it to be able to build from the top down, having Boxberger back healthy and Colome?
KEVIN CASH: What Alex Colome did last year we talked about quite a bit. He put himself in a position; he was successful; he really established himself as having an elite season. We have every anticipation that he is going to come back in and repeat that.

Brad Boxberger is a guy that somewhat had a lost of year, simply due to injuries. We look forward to kind of him regaining his All-Star season the year before, and even the 2014 season where he was as dominant as anybody.

It will be nice to have Box come in there, be healthy, not managing injuries and rehabbing; that takes a toll on a player. Especially when he gets hurt in Spring Training, he rehabs, he comes back, he gets hurt day one when he gets reactivated. His whole season was basically rehabbing. That's not a very good way to go about having success. So we're looking for better health for him.

Q. And when you're putting your bullpen together this spring, obviously usually bring in a lot of the veteran guys with the Minor League deal invite, but are you looking more for strictly talent, or do you like to mix that in with different looks?
KEVIN CASH: That's something that we're discussing right now. I mean, obviously the talent plays. We've predominately built our pitching staff, and, taking aside the starter, is kind of a lot of fly ball pitchers. We've seen the ground ball pitcher can really be effective in the bullpen, especially when you're talking about short spurts to come in and get a big out in a big situation.

Saying that, those guys are really tough to come by. Right now the market for relievers, there's some really interesting names out there, and I know our guys are doing everything they can to kind of sift through that right now and figure out what's our best fit for our club going forward.

But there's going to be a lot of opportunity in the bullpen. I think we all know that come Spring Training that will be one area that it will be a very, very healthy competition.

Q. Along the line of ground ball pitcher, also you've mentioned maybe some higher velocity, try to add some velocity?
KEVIN CASH: We talked about this throughout the year. There's no doubt when you ask hitters, there's something to be said for a guy that's warming up and bringing the 96, 97, 98 miles an hour with power. You want the guy to be able to command the ball. If you're throwing 98 and you have no idea where it's going, you'll real soon get exposed.

That velocity opens maybe your margin for error and helps you have some success, especially in those leverage situations.

Q. How do you go about setting up that competition in the spring, because obviously you've got to get in shape for a certain part. Is it just a late spring decision in most cases?
KEVIN CASH: I think you definitely have to make sure that you don't force the issue to where you risk anybody getting injured. Nobody is going to make the club or be in competition throwing their first bullpen or the first live B or even the first couple innings during games. The nice thing about this year is we have the WBC and it will lengthen things out and we will have time to get some extra looks at guys.

I think you be up front and honest with them and say, listen, for the first couple weeks, we want you to get ready, put yourself in a situation to where you can compete for the last two, three weeks of spring.

Q. During the post-season, the Indians, the bullpen usage got a lot of play. Sort of flew under the radar with so many curveballs they threw against Toronto, and particularly against the Cubs. What are your thoughts on attacking with a scouting report, pitch usage?
KEVIN CASH: The scouting report helps, but I think if you go back and look at some of those pitchers, maybe that day or that month, that might have been their best pitch that they had going, so they pitched off the breaking ball.

Look, Toronto we all know is a very potent lineup, and with the guys -- you've got to give different looks. I give Cleveland credit and the rest of those pitching staffs in the post-season. It was interesting to watch how they just evolved real quickly and adjusted to some things.

You know, the heavy breaking ball usage, it kind of makes sense. You watch all your long, you watch those guys in Toronto's offense, and they don't miss fastballs, so it makes a little bit of sense.

Q. What was your first reaction yesterday when you saw or heard what Boston did?
KEVIN CASH: No, it helped -- our marketing department can now figure out when to do throwback jersey day (laughter). So we're good.

Q. From a baseball standpoint, a manager that has to face them as many times as you will, what was your first --
KEVIN CASH: It's a challenge. I think that we always, being in the American League East, you know, I think teams that are in it would say that's the best division in baseball and most competitive. There's a lot of back and forth, and he's going to add to that. Boston was a very, very talented team before that acquisition. I think it's more business as usual.

It's going to be a good situation, because let me tell you, when you go face Chris Sale and you're not in the division with him and you see him once or twice a year, it's not that fun. The hope is we're going to get to see him a bit more and have guys get comfortable and make adjustments.

But when you see him -- if you see him in May and then you don't see him again till September like the last couple years, it becomes very difficult.

Q. Anything new with Duffy and --
KEVIN CASH: No. No, they are still progressing really, really well.

Q. At the end of last year, you were maybe a little unhappy with how the season finished. You see the White Sox admit they are going to do a rebuild, trading Chris Sale, and with an acquisition like Ramos, it seems like you're not doing that, just trying to remain competitive to win more games. Is that encouraging to you?
KEVIN CASH: Oh, definitely. I think what helps us is our starting pitching. We have a lot of options, and as long as you have those options and that flexibility, you'd like to think, or in theory, you're going to remain competitive being able to roll out a pretty good starting pitcher every day.

Q. And I guess what I was trying to get at, that's got to be important to you. You've had two years where you haven't had --
KEVIN CASH: Last year, there was no doubt, I was frustrated, probably wore it a little bit too much visibly. Our players were frustrated.

We felt coming into last year that we had a better team and should have performed better, and we did not, and that's disappointing. We're kind of cleaning the slate here this off-season and coming into Spring Training a little bit hungrier, more hungry, and pull some positives. I mentioned a couple times, we like the way a lot of guys finished up, especially on the offensive side. Let's see if that carries over and see if we can all get out of the gates strong.

Q. You would like to get to the winning side of things.
KEVIN CASH: That would be good, yeah.

Q. How hard is it looking at last year's team and not overreacting; trying to figure out what was the good part of these guys and what can be salvaged and what can go forward and what needs to be improved? How hard is it to figure that out?
KEVIN CASH: I don't really think it's that hard. Kind of picking apart our season last year, KK's injury played a huge role. You have to overcome injuries, there's no doubt about it. When KK went down, for whatever reason, it seemed like our starting pitching kind of all went in a little bit of a funk at one time.

You can manage, a team can manage a pitcher or two going through a little bit of a slump, but when it seems like four or five of them kind of hit their rough patches in the season at the same point and you didn't have your best defensive player out there, it made it very difficult.

Other than that, there were some bright spots. But we know that injuries, every team has them. We've got to be able to overcome them. You know what, maybe somehow when guys go into their slumps or dry spells, space it out a little bit to where it's not clumped together where the whole staff does it at once.

Q. Is there anything you personally learned over the last two years that has not gone as planned?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, I mean, that's another conversation, but, yeah, I've learned plenty, and continue to learn.

I think that continuing to have the communication with the players and the balance of what works with some guys and not with others; I've made mistakes on how I've tried to approach communicating with players and how we've handled things. And as long as you are continuing to learn, you're being honest about it and doing some right things along the way.

But to answer your question, the communication is ever-evolving, and that's the thing that you learn, but you've also got to continue to learn.

Q. You said you desire consistency a lot last year, the team was going up and down. A lot of that had to do with the injuries the team was battling. Other than staying healthy, what do you think will help improve the consistency moving forward next season?
KEVIN CASH: Well, I think you look at a team like us, you talk about people moving all around; that's what we're going to do. We're going to maximize our roster. Some teams are capable of going out and throwing out nine players and saying, here, go play for the bulk of the season at this spot.

That's not our style. We're going to try to maximize our roster. We're going to play a couple guys and all be looking to see if this guy can help us for X number of games at this position, think a little bit outside the box.

I don't think that's something that we should, you know, keep in the back of our mind or prevent us from being consistent. It's our job as an organization, it's our job as coaches, to get those guys acclimated and comfortable doing that in Spring Training to where when they get the opportunity to kind of move around, they feel consistent, and that will in turn lead to our overall consistency.

Q. Any early winter thoughts for your batting order next year?
KEVIN CASH: No. Longo is going to hit third. (Laughter).

I'm ready for this to get over with so we can start talking a little bit more about that kind of -- the in-game management, the prep of Spring Training. Those are exciting times. I understand this is a big part of the business and our front office and along with 29 other front offices are working incredibly hard right now to make their organizations better, but it does get fun when you start talking about your team.

Q. When you get a little bit better picture?
KEVIN CASH: Exactly.

Q. As the longer spring, having some guys in the WBC, there will be a little bit of disruption. Do you just have to deal with that part of it?
KEVIN CASH: I think we look at it, look, it's going to be an opportunity. There are some things that we left the season with knowing that we needed to work on. It's going to give us a chance to get a little bit more fundamentally stronger, really key on some things in Spring Training that we felt that we can improve upon.

Obviously baserunning is one. And you know what? It's going to help a guy like Matt Duffy; that as excited as we are about him, he's coming in and it's going to allow him much more time to get acclimated around the guys. I mean, to Matt's credit, he handled it really well. He comes over, he does everything he can to get back in, but I don't think there was ever any true comfort given the short amount of playing time that he had with us. So that will be great for him.

Q. Erik gave you a compliment yesterday. He was saying, when we asked about you, he said how hard the team was playing. I know you weren't happy at the end, but did you get some satisfaction about seeing how hard they were still playing at the end?
KEVIN CASH: I did. One play kind of sticks out. We won the last game of the year, because Evan Longoria busted it down the line on a strike three miss or passed ball by a catcher. When your best player or one of your best players was playing like that, there's not too much you need to do as a coach or manager because he's setting that tone. I recall Brad Miller kind of saying in the dugout when it happened, that settles it, we're all doing it, he busted it down the line.

The guys take a lot of pride in performing. None of us were satisfied. None of us were happy, but none of us felt like there was any shutdown the last game of the season.

Q. He really is the leader, more by maybe show me than tell me so.
KEVIN CASH: I respect Evan's stance on that. Evan does a tremendous job in our clubhouse, and we continue to see him. He continues to get the notoriety for it. It doesn't need to be announced. He can take a guy back in the training room, talk to him privately, and we see that as guys that are around him, we see that quite frequently.

Q. You went out to the Fall League. Who impressed you? I'm sure you saw Honeywell and other guys.
KEVIN CASH: When I went out to the Fall League, I went at the right time, that's for sure, because all of our players really performed well. Honeywell, I think he threw five innings, one hit, five punch-outs. He was outstanding. Justin Williams was really swinging the bat well, Nick Ciuffo.

Probably the guy that really stuck out was Diego Castillo. You come in knowing those names, or had not heard a ton about Diego, and he comes out of the bullpen, he's throwing 98 miles an hour and no one is touching him.

It was a great experience for me to get around some of the guys. I assume some of them there's a good chance will be in camp with us when we announce that. And just to have that relationship already started.

Q. Looking forward to having Chad from the start?
KEVIN CASH: Listen, Chad, I know that was a very difficult decision when it happened, but that last three weeks or month, whatever it was, was very valuable to our players and to Chad. For Chad to be able to pick up the phone, which he's done this off-season and talked to a lot of guys, and not have to introduce himself, already got that out of the way, it's a much more comforting phone call.

I know he's already setting up -- Brad Miller has already wanted to take batting practice. To have that kind of established, I think it will be very seamless come Spring Training.
 

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Archer commits to World Baseball Classic

Archer commits to World Baseball Classic

With the World Baseball Classic just a few months away, the rosters are beginning to take shape. More names surfaced Monday as the World Baseball Classic released an initial list of 30 players who are confirmed to be participating in the 2017 tournament.

Spanning 16 countries, the players include 24 Major League All-Stars, but the upcoming WBC, which will take place in March, provides a global stage for veterans and rising stars alike.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Cash has learned to expect unexpected

After disappointing 2016 season, Rays manager knows 'you have to be prepared to adjust'

Cash has learned to expect unexpected

Ask Kevin Cash what advice he'd give someone who's about to take over a Major League team and who's never managed at any level, and there's little hesitation.

"Prepare yourself for the unexpected," Cash said, followed by a chuckle.

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Hal Bodley, dean of American baseball writers, is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Honeywell, Wong on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

Selected by AFL managers and coaches, the team recognizes 24 players who stood out

Honeywell, Wong on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

The 2016 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Nov. 19, when the Mesa Solar Sox, powered by a two-homer, 4-for-4 performance from Cubs top prospect Ian Happ, defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, in the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium.

Since then, MLBPipeline.com has broken down this year's impressive contingent of Fall League participants in different ways, highlighting the circuit's top performers and breakout prospects and even constructing an All-AFL Team.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays tender offers to all arbitration-eligible players

Rays tender offers to all arbitration-eligible players

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays tendered contacts to all of their arbitration-eligible players before Major League Baseball's non-tender deadline passed Friday.

Non-tendered players would have become free agents.

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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.

Rays add Greany to training staff

New strength and conditioning assistant among club's hires

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have hired Joey Greany as their Major League strength and conditioning assistant.

Greany comes to the Rays after nine seasons with the Royals' organization, most recently as its Triple-A strength and conditioning coach. With the Rays, he joins Trung Cao, who was recently promoted to Major League strength and conditioning coordinator.

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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.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Rays' Honeywell

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Rays' Honeywell

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays lose Geltz on waiver claim by Brewers

Rays lose Geltz on waiver claim by Brewers

ST. PETERSBURG -- Steve Geltz will not be back with the Rays in 2017 as the Brewers claimed the 29-year-old right-handed reliever off waivers Monday.

The Rays designated Geltz for assignment Nov. 18 when they set their 40-man roster. In 2016, he posted a 5.74 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 27 appearances.

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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.

Mahtook gives back in memory of his father

Rays outfielder thankful for platform to support, educate

Mahtook gives back in memory of his father

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielder Mikie Mahtook appreciates having a platform to make a difference. That has allowed him to address a cause that is dear to him because of family circumstances.

Mahtook's father, Mikie, died of cardiomyopathy at age 32, when Mikie was only 4 years old.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Honeywell among Fall League's Top 25 prospects

Honeywell among Fall League's Top 25 prospects

While the most talented team doesn't always win the championship, it did in the Arizona Fall League. The Mesa Solar Sox wrapped up the East Division crown on the final day of the regular season before rolling to an easy victory in the AFL's one-game playoff for its first title since 2003.

Mesa had the league's deepest lineup, as evidenced by its seven hitters who rank among the AFL's 20 best prospects below. The Solar Sox had star power with outfielders Eloy Jimenez (Cubs) and Bradley Zimmer (Indians) and second baseman Ian Happ (Cubs), all of whom sit in the 20s on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list. They also had emerging talents such as shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang and outfielder Greg Allen, who have been overshadowed in a deep Indians system, and league home run leader Brian Anderson (Marlins No. 4 prospect), who had support for making our list.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Souza earmarked for RF, though not a lock

Rays slugger seeking to strike out less, stay healthy

Souza earmarked for RF, though not a lock

ST. PETERSBURG -- Steven Souza Jr. has been an enigma throughout his two-year tenure with the Rays.

The Everett, Wash., native came over in a three-way trade among the Padres, Nationals and Rays in December 2014. Since his arrival, he's appeared at times to be the answer to the Rays' quest for power. At other times, he has not.

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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.

Inbox: Rays to use starters as trade chips?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from fans

Inbox: Rays to use starters as trade chips?

Do we know if the Rays are planning to address the catcher, left field and DH positions via trade? This offseason seems to be the perfect time for the Rays to use their pitching and prospect depth to solve all three of those issues. The Rays could use some bullpen help too.
-- Michael B., Odessa, Fla.

First, given the team's depth at starting pitching, trading a starting pitcher remains at the forefront of possible offseason action. According to the rumor mill, Chris Archer is the most sought after of the Rays' starters. Based on needs, one might assume that the Rays would be in the market for a catcher or a left fielder. However, history has shown that the club has always danced to a different beat. Observing how it likes to do things, I believe if it trades one of its starters, it will be for the best player (or players) it can bring back in return -- and not a player just to fill a need.

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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.

Rays add 3 prospects in deal with Mariners

Rays add 3 prospects in deal with Mariners

The Rays acquired three Minor League prospects from the Mariners in exchange for Richie Shaffer and Taylor Motter on Friday.

Right-hander Dylan Thompson, the Mariners' 22nd-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, along with first baseman/outfielder Dalton Kelly and right-hander Andrew Kittredge, join the Tampa Bay organization.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyRsports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays announce 2017 Spring Training schedule

Rays announce 2017 Spring Training schedule

The Rays announced their 2017 Spring Training schedule on Friday, with the first workout for pitchers and catchers set for Feb. 14. The first full-squad workout will be on Feb. 19, and the team's first game is set for Feb. 24 on the road against the Twins.

The Rays, entering their ninth season at Charlotte Sports Park, play their first home game of the spring on Feb. 25 against the Pirates. The Rays' Grapefruit League home games during Spring Training will start at 1:05 p.m. ET.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Rays alter bullpen approach in '17?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Rays alter bullpen approach in '17?

Watching the postseason and how the different managers used their bullpens, I started wondering if we'll see some new thinking going forward. For example, would the Rays consider using Alex Colome in the sixth instead of saving him for the ninth? Your thoughts?
--Bill B., St. Petersburg

In my recollection, the defined closer role for the ninth inning really began with Tony La Russa's use of Dennis Eckersley in the late '80s with Oakland. Based on that use, the closer comes in for the final inning if his team has the lead or if the game is tied (on occasion). That formula worked with Eckersley, along with many closers who have followed.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kiermaier earns Defensive POY Award in CF

Kiermaier earns Defensive POY Award in CF

Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier on Friday night was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year for the position.

The Defensive Player of the Year Awards recognize the nine best defensive players in the Major Leagues, with one honored at each position. Wilson also names a top defensive team and one exemplary performer as top defensive player.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyRsports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Souza 'pleased' with results of hip surgery

Souza 'pleased' with results of hip surgery

ST. PETERSBURG -- Steven Souza Jr. didn't really know how much he was hurting until after his season-ending hip surgery took place.

On Sept. 21 in Nashville, Dr. Thomas Byrd performed a surgery to remove tissue from a labral tear and impingement of Souza's left hip, easing the Rays outfielder's pain.

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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.

Kiermaier wins 2nd straight Gold Glove Award

'He keeps finding ways to get better,' Cash says of Rays' center fielder

Kiermaier wins 2nd straight Gold Glove Award

ST. PETERSBURG -- Respect is the best word to describe Kevin Kiermaier winning a second consecutive Gold Glove as the American League's best defensive center fielder.

The 26-year-old was limited to 105 games in 2016 due to injuries. Nevertheless, he minted another Gold Glove, finishing ahead of Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. and Toronto's Kevin Pillar.

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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.