Hal Bodley, dean of American baseball writers, is the senior correspondent for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter @HalBodley This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
7 Rays prospects to watch this spring
Snell leads group that could bring special spark to camp
ST. PETERSBURG -- Sunshine accompanied the smiles in south St. Petersburg on Thursday afternoon, when Rays manager Kevin Cash handed over the keys to a new home to Lakeba Wallace and her daughter.
The Rays not only provided the funding for Wallace's Habitat for Humanity home, but staff members also took ownership of the build by contributing more than 1,000 volunteer hours on the construction site.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Checking out the new faces in camp is always a big part of the fun of Spring Training. Luckily, the Rays have plenty of offseason additions to get to know over the next two months, each of them looking for a chance to play a significant role for the team in 2015.
Here's a look at some of the new players fans will be able to watch once camp opens in Port Charlotte, Fla.:
ST. PETERSBURG -- Under the watchful eye of home clubhouse manager Jose Fernandez, the Rays' clubhouse staff executed "Truck Day" Tuesday morning at Tropicana Field. That translates to Spring Training being just around the corner.
"We're ready to get to Port Charlotte to get started," Fernandez said.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays will offer fans special, value-laden promotions for each weekday home game during the 2016 regular season.
Single-game tickets will go on sale on Feb. 19, exclusively at raysbaseball.com. The following day, tickets will be available at the Rays Pro Shop at 400 N. Tampa St. in Tampa, the Tropicana Field box office or by calling 888-FAN-RAYS.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Autograph passes for the 2016 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest presented by the Tampa Bay Times will go on sale on Wednesday. Rays Fan Fest is scheduled for Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field.
Season-ticket holders will be granted early entry to Fan Fest, beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Admission and parking are free.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Drew Smyly won in arbitration on Thursday, when a decision came down that the Rays left-hander will make $3.75 million for the 2016 season rather than the $3.2 million salary the team submitted.
In the process, Smyly claimed a raise of $1.1 million after being paid $2.65 million in 2015.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays offered their thoughts on what they want in a new baseball stadium when they made public the process document they sent to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Thursday afternoon.
Rays senior vice president Melanie Lenz issued the following statement regarding the document that was born in the aftermath of the St. Petersburg City Council's approval of a deal allowing the team to look outside the city for a suitable stadium site:
The following is the third in a series of stories that will focus, position by position, on the 2016 Rays. Right up until Spring Training camps open, we'll preview a different position. Today: catchers.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The catcher's position has long been an open sore for the Rays.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays announced Monday they will again provide jerseys and caps to local T-ball teams.
For the third straight year, the Rays, Majestic Athletic and Suncoast Credit Union will provide jerseys and caps to more than 10,000 T-ball players and coaches from more than 80 local leagues. The program reaches Little League, Cal Ripken, Dixie and Pony T-ball teams in Charlotte, Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.
For now, I believe the Rays will keep both. If Tampa Bay does that, it will go to camp with Casali, Rivera, Hank Conger and Luke Maile. I believe they are in a wait-and-see mode to see how things shake out. Also, there are worse things than heading to camp with four healthy catchers.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays addressed their offensive woes on Thursday, adding outfielder Corey Dickerson and Minor League third baseman Kevin Padlo from the Rockies for veteran lefty Jake McGee and Minor League right-hander German Marquez.
The two departures from Tampa Bay's 40-man roster made room for Dickerson and free-agent slugger Steve Pearce (the Rays officially announced signing him to a one-year contract Thursday night); Padlo was not on Colorado's 40-man roster.
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Get hyped for Blake Snell, Rays fans
By Ben Cosman |
It seems like nearly every season, the Rays have another break-out young pitcher. Just look at the past five years: Jeremy Hellickson in 2011, Matt Moore in 2013, Alex Cobb in '13 and '14 and, of course, Chris Archer last season. At this point, it feels inevitable that in any given year, at least one Rays pitcher, either as a rookie or one to two seasons out of the Minors, will all of a sudden start pitching his brains out.
In 2016, the Rays pitching robot laboratory is poised to produce another: Blake Snell.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Nothing like a cup of joe to get the day started -- particularly when Rays ace Chris Archer is buying.
Archer decided to have a little fun Wednesday morning by showing up at a busy downtown St. Petersburg coffee bar and throwing down his plastic, buying coffee for some of the locals who show up to watch him pitch.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Hot Stove season means rumors come and go. For the Rays, one that persists involves free-agent shortstop Ian Desmond.
According to a report by Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, a source confirmed that the Rays have interest in Desmond, but having to give up their first-round pick -- 13th overall in this year's Draft -- could be a deal breaker.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Shaffer makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list
Rangers' Gallo grabs top spot, Boston's Devers leaps to No. 2
By Mike Rosenbaum
MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.
Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo, Miguel Sano and Maikel Franco claimed four of the top five spots on last year's list of the top third-base prospects, and together they combined to hit 64 big league home runs in 2015. Gallo retained rookie eligibility and headlines this year's crop of top prospects at the hot corner, which, as a whole, stand out more for overall hitting ability than power. And as it's so often the case with young third basemen, only time will tell how many of these guys will be able to remain at the position long term.
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.
Keuchel's beard vs. Archer's hair: Which is longer?
By Chris Landers |
In a year dominated by hair of all shapes and sizes, one man's facial follicles ruled above them all: American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, who received an endorsement from no less a bearded luminary than James Harden.
But while most of MLB has spent the offseason pushing tires or running obstacle courses to prepare for 2016, Rays ace Chris Archer is after a different crown -- Hair King of MLB. Just a couple of weeks ago, Archer went on Hot Stove to plug his dedication to his 'do, and on Monday, he took the campaign to Twitter: