Rays land De Leon, deal Forsythe to Dodgers

Tampa Bay also signs righty Tolleson to 1-year deal

Rays land De Leon, deal Forsythe to Dodgers

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays saw an opportunity they couldn't pass up, so on Monday night they traded second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers for highly touted right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon.

"Going into the winter, this certainly wasn't on our to-do list," said Erik Neander, Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. "In our minds to acquire a talent, and acquire a pitcher we have evaluated very highly, we felt it was an opportunity that we needed to take advantage of as difficult a decision as it was. ... We had every intention of Logan being on our club until this presented itself and felt like this is the best decision for our organization moving forward."

Continue Reading

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

Rodney's resurgence as free agent revitalized Rays

Reliever posted 0.60 ERA and 48 saves in first season with Tampa Bay

Rodney's resurgence as free agent revitalized Rays

Before bidding adieu to the Hot Stove season, we asked our 30 beat reporters to look back at their club's past and answer the following question: Who is the best free-agent signing in the team's history?

ST. PETERSBURG -- Fernando Rodney is at the top of the class when it comes to free agents the Rays have signed.

Continue Reading

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-house bullpen options abound for Rays

Colome, Boxberger likely to anchor late innings in 2017

In-house bullpen options abound for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Building a quality bullpen is a priority for the Rays. However, based on what they already have in house, the task isn't as daunting as one might imagine. Tampa Bay will be able to build from the top down, assuming Alex Colome and Brad Boxberger remain healthy and are with the team.

Boxberger entered the 2016 season earmarked as the Rays' closer after leading the American League in saves in '15. But he began the season on the disabled list and upon his return, he had to be lifted from his first outing. Boxberger subsequently returned to the DL, and not having him proved to be both good and bad for Tampa Bay.

Continue Reading

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.

Gillaspie No. 5 on Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

Dodgers' Bellinger ranks first, Pirates' Bell, Mets' Smith follow once again

Gillaspie No. 5 on Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

No position in the big leagues places a greater premium on power than first base, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that MLBPipeline's list of the Top 10 first-base prospects is loaded with sluggers. Four of them have plus pop, led by Cody Bellinger's 65 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale, and the rest all have average or better power. Meanwhile, the top four first basemen all ranked among the top six a year ago, while Bellinger and Casey Gillaspie leaped into the top half of the list.

Continue Reading

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.

Adames looking forward to big league camp

Rays' top prospect eager to learn from veterans; righty Honeywell won't be rushed

Adames looking forward to big league camp

ST. PETERSBURG -- After being named the Rays' top prospect by MLBPipeline.com, 21-year-old shortstop Willy Adames is ready for the next step of attending Spring Training as a member on the 40-man roster.

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.

Continue Reading

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball world mourns Ventura, Marte

Baseball world mourns Ventura, Marte

The baseball world mourned the unexpected deaths of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and third baseman Andy Marte on Sunday.

Ventura, 25, died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Marte, 33, also died in a separate car crash Sunday in the Dominican Republic.

Continue Reading

Jesse Sanchez has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays clear OF room, trade Mahtook to Tigers

Rays clear OF room, trade Mahtook to Tigers

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.

Continue Reading

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

McGriff's HOF chances take hit on '17 ballot

Tampa native receives 21.3 percent of votes in 8th bid

McGriff's HOF chances take hit on '17 ballot

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.

Continue Reading

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

Bagwell, Raines, Pudge elected to Hall of Fame

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.

Continue Reading

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

Rays reportedly close to signing Tolleson

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.

Continue Reading

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

Honeywell among top RHP prospects

Reyes overtakes Giolito for top spot, Glasnow remains at No. 2

Honeywell among top RHP prospects

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Lucas Giolito headlined last year's list of the Top 10 right-handed pitching prospects, followed by Tyler Glasnow and Alex Reyes, respectively. That same trio checks in at the top of this year's list, too, only in a different order.

Continue Reading

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 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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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. 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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:

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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."

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.