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.

Rays offer unique items for 'Play Ball' auction

Rays offer unique items for 'Play Ball' auction

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Hitting lessons with Rays slugger Brad Miller is among three opportunities for Rays fans to bid on for the Play Ball charity auction.

Major League Baseball and all 30 clubs have organized a charity auction benefiting youth baseball and softball in Little Ferry, N.J., the hometown of former Mets public relations executive Shannon Forde.

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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.

Trade talks likely to heat up at Meetings

Silverman calls Rays' starting-pitching depth 'a double-edged sword'

Trade talks likely to heat up at Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Last season didn't turn out the way the Rays had intended. Now that the front office has had a chance to evaluate what went right and what went wrong, the Rays head to the Winter Meetings ready to shape a winning team for 2017.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.

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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

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.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Rays listening, but in no rush to deal Archer

Club in position of strength in weak pitching market

Rays listening, but in no rush to deal Archer

Seems like every couple of days there's another report about teams having interest in acquiring Rays right-hander Chris Archer, an All-Star in 2015 who led the Major Leagues with 19 losses in '16.

It's been going on since July, when the Dodgers, Rangers and Cubs were among the believed suitors for the 28-year-old workhorse who is coming off back-to-back 200-inning seasons. It has continued into the offseason, with the Braves among those being mentioned lately.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. 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.

Rays head to Meetings with open minds

Tampa Bay not expecting to make big splash, but willing to listen to offers

Rays head to Meetings with open minds

ST. PETERSBURG -- Making deals is the sexy part of the Winter Meetings. However, that lure won't necessarily prompt the Rays to agree to any deals.

"We've had a lot of conversations so far this offseason and expect plenty more as we move into the Winter Meetings," said Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom. "Whenever all 30 clubs gather in one place, you can expect it to be busy; there will be a ton of dialogue and many different things to consider. We'll look forward to exploring the landscape thoroughly and seeking opportunities to improve our club."

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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

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 could go in several directions at Meetings

Rays could go in several directions at Meetings

ST. PETERSBURG -- Based on how the Rays finished the 2015 season, the forecast for '16 was bright. Instead, the Rays finished in the cellar of the American League East.

Now the front office must evaluate whether to view this season as an outlier, or if wholesale changes need to take place before 2017.

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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 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.

Analyzing Archer's status in trade market

Righty could be coveted due to impressive stuff, club-friendly deal

Analyzing Archer's status in trade market

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer is in play. That's what the Hot Stove rumor mill has to say about the talented Rays right-hander.

Given Archer's talent, plus the fact that he's signed to a relatively modest and club-friendly deal, why would such speculation be so rampant? Well, the Rays certainly aren't going to offer an answer to that question. Club policy dictates that they don't comment on any deals, on or off the record. That leads to careful -- and independent -- analysis of why Archer is coveted and why he could be available.

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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 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jon Paul Morosi

Archer to pitch for Team USA in 2017 Classic

Rays right-hander hopes to rally other prominent players in uniting toward common goal

Archer to pitch for Team USA in 2017 Classic

Chris Archer was a senior at Clayton (N.C.) High School in the spring of 2006, when the World Baseball Classic debuted as the sport's premier international tournament.

"I still remember watching Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens take the field for Team USA," Archer recalled Friday. "I was in awe. I realized there was no higher level of international competition for our sport. This is the equivalent of the World Cup of soccer.

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Jon Paul Morosi is a national columnist for MLB.com. 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.

Rumors circulate regarding Longoria, Archer

Dodgers may be interested in third baseman; Braves looking at ace

Rumors circulate regarding Longoria, Archer

ST. PETERSBURG -- Predictably, the early rounds of the Hot Stove season include the names of Rays players. Evan Longoria and Chris Archer were front and center on Wednesday, though the rumors don't sound serious and the Rays did not confirm either.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted that Tampa Bay is open to listening to deals that would include Longoria. Though the scenario isn't exactly likely, there are plausible reasons to believe the Dodgers might try to pry away Longoria from the Rays.

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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

Mike Petriello

Archer restores value with strong second half

Righty's 28.2 percent whiff rate over 2015-16 is fifth best among starters

Archer restores value with strong second half

It was easy to write off Chris Archer as having had a poor season in 2016, wasn't it? Yes, he lost 19 games, tied with James Shields for the most in baseball. Yes, Archer had a career-worst 4.02 ERA. And yes, he played on a last-place team that lost 94 games. It's easy to have not paid much attention to what Archer did in the second half of the year.

Perhaps it was too easy, though, because you may not have noticed that Archer was actually very good over the final months of the season, more or less back to his old self. His "old self," remember, finished fifth in the 2015 American League Cy Award Young voting, in one stretch striking out 38 over three games without a walk. That came on the heels of two very good seasons in '13-14.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. 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.