Top prospect Adames impresses on, off field

Farm director Lukevics: Shortstop 'has good intangibles to go along with skill'

Top prospect Adames impresses on, off field

ST. PETERSBURG -- Willy Adames just keeps getting better. That's why the talented 21-year-old shortstop is the Rays' top prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

"Willy has it," Tampa Bay farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "He has the skills that make him a good player, and he has good intangibles to go along with skill. At a young age, he's accomplished quite a bit."

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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.

Rays settle with 9 arbitration-eligibles

Right-hander Odorizzi does not come to terms with Tampa Bay

Rays settle with 9 arbitration-eligibles

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have agreed to terms for the 2017 season with nine of their 10 arbitration-eligible players.

That group included: Tim Beckham, Brad Boxberger, Xavier Cedeno, Alex Cobb, Corey Dickerson, Danny Farquhar, Kevin Kiermaier, Brad Miller and Erasmo Ramirez.

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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.

Many options as Rays consider outfield

Crowded competition after trade for Smith, Rasmus agreement

Many options as Rays consider outfield

ST. PETERSBURG -- Clarity about the Rays' outfield situation was supposed to come once they made a deal, right?

Well, the Rays have brought aboard two new outfielders this week, and now the situation is more confusing than it has been at any point since the 2016 season came to a close.

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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.

Smyly will 'forever be grateful' for time with Rays

Smyly will 'forever be grateful' for time with Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Drew Smyly will be heading west after the Rays traded the left-hander to the Mariners as part of a four-player deal on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Smyly replied to an email asking him about his time with the Rays.

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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.

Rays trade Smyly for Smith, 2 Minor Leaguers

Rays trade Smyly for Smith, 2 Minor Leaguers

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.

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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.

Inbox: Can Kiermaier stay healthy, progress at plate?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers fans' questions

Inbox: Can Kiermaier stay healthy, progress at plate?

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.

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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.

Rasmus heading to Rays on free-agent deal

Rasmus heading to Rays on free-agent deal

ST. PETERSBURG -- Free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus is close to signing a deal with the Rays, pending a physical, according to a Major League source. The club has not confirmed the agreement.

Rasmus looks like a good fit for the Rays in left field. He plays solid defense and has a plus arm. Rasmus can also back up Kevin Kiermaier in center field and be used at DH.

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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

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. 

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Former Rays pitching coach Brown dies at 73

'Oklahoma Curveballer' played for Senators, Rangers, Indians and Expos

Former Rays pitching coach Brown dies at 73

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.

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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.

Rays announce front-office personnel moves

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays president Brian Auld announced several personnel changes within the organization on Monday.

James Click's promotion to vice president of baseball operations highlighted those changes.

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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: What are Rays' plans for Dickerson?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers fans' questions

Inbox: What are Rays' plans for Dickerson?

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.

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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 begin home-build project for local family

ST. PETERSBURG -- Let the building begin.

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.

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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.

Rays' offseason focus appears set on aim to contend

Tampa Bay has no gaping holes; additional outfielder could provide boost to '17 club

Rays' offseason focus appears set on aim to contend

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.

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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 'optimistic' about improving in 2017

Tampa Bay has balanced club, faces 5 key questions heading into next season

Rays 'optimistic' about improving in 2017

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.

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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.

Longoria's rebound not enough for Rays in '16

Despite bright spots, homer-happy Tampa Bay fell short of expectations

Longoria's rebound not enough for Rays in '16

ST. PETERSBURG -- A 2016 season that the Rays expected to be promising turned sour in the first half, resulting in 12 fewer wins than the previous season.

Between June 16 and July 16, the Rays went 3-24. They finished the season at 68-94, marking their fewest wins since 2007.

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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.

Most amazing American League games of 2016

Most amazing American League games of 2016

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:

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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

Mississippi State wins St. Pete Bowl vs. Miami at Trop

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.

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David Wilson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Florida. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kalas departs after 19 seasons with Rays

Broadcaster will join Astros booth as play-by-play announcer

Kalas departs after 19 seasons with Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Todd Kalas is leaving the Rays' broadcast team to become the Astros' new play-by-play announcer on ROOT Sports Southwest.

"I'm definitely going to miss the Tampa Bay area," Kalas said. "I never imagined myself leaving, but this was a unique opportunity, and it gives me the chance to do play-by-play."

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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: Will Duffy be the answer at shortstop?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from Rays fans

Inbox: Will Duffy be the answer at shortstop?

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.

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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 depth, sign 7 to Minor League deals

11 others invited to Major League Spring Training

Rays add depth, sign 7 to Minor League deals

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays added depth on Thursday when they signed seven players to Minor League contracts, each with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

In addition, the Rays invited 11 Minor Leaguers from within the organization to big league camp.

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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.

Maile Christmas! Rays catcher shares memories

Maile Christmas! Rays catcher shares memories

ST. PETERSBURG -- Luke Maile is one of the Rays' three catchers heading into the 2017 season, along with Wilson Ramos and Curt Casali.

The native of Edgewood, Ky., was recalled from Triple-A Durham over the All-Star break and started 35 of the team's 74 games after the break.

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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.

Could Rays sway Bautista in free-agency game?

Could Rays sway Bautista in free-agency game?

ST. PETERSBURG -- Signing Jose Bautista would be a plus for the Rays.

Though the free-agent slugger did not have a Bautista-like year in 2016, when he hit .234 with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs, and his defense is not what it used to be, he's still got some tread left on the tires.

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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 ready to compete for job in 2017

Outfielder looking forward after injury-plagued season, hopes to build on late success

Mahtook ready to compete for job in 2017

ST. PETERSBURG -- Mikie Mahtook is ready to state his case.

Yes, the Rays have made it clear that they are seeking outfield help, specifically for left field. Mahtook doesn't take exception to the organization looking to bolster the outfield mix -- he's just ready to compete for the job come spring.

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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

Terence Moore

Understated McGriff deserves Hall call

Crime Dog notched 12 seasons of 90 or more RBIs, but 1st baseman not flashy

Understated McGriff deserves Hall call

So why isn't Fred McGriff in the National Baseball Hall of Fame? As somebody who votes for Crime Dog every year, I haven't a clue. OK, maybe I do.

It's that cliche thing.

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Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays announce Minor League staffs for 2017

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.

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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.

Young arms could crack Rays' bullpen

Young arms could crack Rays' bullpen

ST. PETERSBURG -- Piecing together a bullpen is one of the Rays' top offseason priorities. Among their options are three internal candidates who might find their way into the mix.

The first is right-hander Ryne Stanek, who stands 6-foot-4, weighs 180 pounds and throws 100 mph.

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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: How will the Rays improve this offseason?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from fans

Inbox: How will the Rays improve this offseason?

I read a lot about Rays players that might be traded, usually to lower the payroll. I read almost nothing about how the Rays might get better. It's season-ticket renewal time. Why do you think the Rays might do better next year?
-- Larry A., Seminole, Fla.

Really good question, and tough to answer. One of the biggest challenges facing the Rays' front office during the offseason is evaluating what they have on their roster. The club must examine every player and decide whether his performance was up to par, and if it wasn't, whether that was an aberration or the front end of a trend. 

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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.

Archer caps 'amazing' tour of Puerto Rico

Clemente's legacy honored at gala to conclude MLBPA event

Archer caps 'amazing' tour of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The baseball world descended on the Enchanted Island this week to honor the past, help the sport's future and celebrate the present.

"Peloteros Por Puerto Rico," a star-studded Puerto Rico goodwill tour spearheaded by the Major League Baseball Players Association in conjunction with Major League Baseball, concluded Saturday evening with a gala honoring the legacy of Roberto Clemente and celebrating the future of baseball on the island.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.