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2011-12 Rays Off Season thread

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#1 drtooth

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 03:53 PM

Friedman interviews with Angels

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman was expected to have a lot of suitors in the offseason, including his hometown Astros as well as the Cubs.

While the Cubs have locked in on Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, the Angels have surfaced as another potential suitor for Friedman. ESPNLosAngeles, citing a source with direct knowledge of the Angels GM search, reported owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino met with Friedman this week in St. Petersburg. The meeting was first reported by DRaysbay.com.

Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter, citing a source, that Friedman is the Angels top choice. But apparently there's a long list of candidates still in the process. ESPNLosAngeles reported Moreno has also met with Yankees executive Damon Oppenheimer, are also interested in Diamondbacks assistant GM Jerry Dipoto, and are "keeping their eye on" Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine. They are also expected to talk with Kim Ng, a former Dodgers executive now working for MLB, according to ESPN.

Friedman has a policy of not discussing contract talks, including his own, and has not returned a message for comment on the Angels situation.

Edited by drtooth, 22 October 2011 - 06:14 AM.

#2 drtooth

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:26 AM

Selig chimes in on Rays stadium issues

Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday had one word - "bad" - to describe the Rays attendance issues and said he doesn't see "any reason to be too optimistic" about their stadium situation being resolved.

Speaking to Chris Russo on SiriusXMs Mad Dog Radio channel at the World Series, Selig was asked about principal owner Stuart Sternberg's dire comments after the ALDS loss and the Rays overall situation.

Said Selig: I like Stu Sternberg a lot, as you probably know. I have a great deal of respect for him. Hes a very thoughtful, very interesting guy, done a great job there, done a brilliant job there. I, too, am concerned about their attendance. I track attendance every day. He knows it. Ive talked to him a lot. They are a wonderful organization, produced a terrific team this year and finished last in the American League in attendance. Ill let you draw your own conclusion. Thats bad.

Russo then asked, Is the stadium situation in Tampa (Bay) a lost cause?

Selig's response: I cant answer that yet but Im usually an optimist and I dont have any reason to be too optimistic.

#3 drtooth

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:15 AM

Hellickson named BA's ROY

#4 drtooth

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 04:26 PM

Maddon named Sporting News AL Manager of the Year

#5 derekson

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 01:01 PM

The Rays should really try and grab Morrison from the Marlins to fill their hole at first base. He's not an outfielder, despite Florida sticking him in LF, and his antics seem to have worn out their welcome in Miami, whereas a guy like that would seemingly fit in quite well in Maddon's clubhouse. Not really sure what it would take to make this trade happen on the Rays' end, but they certainly have the pitching depth to get a deal done, and the Marlins have Sanchez at first base blocking Morrison at his natural position.

Edited by derekson, 25 October 2011 - 01:02 PM.

#6 drtooth

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:19 PM

Rays pick up the $7.5M option on James Shields.

#7 drtooth

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:13 PM

Rays pick up the $3.3M option on Kyle Farnsworth but decline the option on Kelly Shoppach ($3.2M).

#8 drtooth

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 11:25 AM

Dan Johnson declines being outrighted to AAA and becomes a FA

#9 drtooth

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:02 PM

Jeremy Hellickson named AL Rookie of the Year

#10 drtooth

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 06:15 PM

James Shields finishes 3rd in the Cy Young balloting, which means his pay for 2012 increases $500k to $8M next year.

#11 drtooth

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 08:09 AM

Maddon named AL Manager of the Year

#12 drtooth

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 07:57 PM

Rays trade C John Jaso to Seattle for RP Josh Lueke. From St Pete Times

Lueke, who turns 27 in December, is a hard thrower who had some success in the second half of last season with Seattle. He made the opening day roster but struggled over eight appearances and was sent to Triple-A. He returned in July, and compiled a 3.42 ERA over 17 appearances, allowing 22 hits and seven walks with 21 strikeouts. Overall, he was 1-1, 6.06 with Seattle and 2-4, 2.76 with 11 saves for Triple-A Tacoma an was a midseason Pacific Coast League All-Star.

Josh has the stuff to get hitters out in the American League East and began to show that during the second half of last season, Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. We believe he can be an important part of our success here for many years."

Lueke was acquired by Seattle from Texas in the July 2012 Cliff Lee trade. While with Texas, he pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of false imprisonment with violence stemming from a May 2008 incident, according to the Seattle Times, and was setenced to 40 days in prison, and was freed with time already served.

Lueke, according to the Times, originally faced rape and sodomy charges in Bakersfield, Calif. , after being arrested following an investigation into a May 2008 incident in which a woman said she met several minor-league players after attending a Bakersfield Blaze Class A game, then accompanied them to bars and to an apartment shared by Lueke and a teammate. According to the Times, she said she passed out, and when she awoke the next morning some of her clothes were missing.

Lueke, according to the Times, was arrested and charged with rape and sodomy in May 2009, and "the probable cause statement for arrest stated that semen found on the victim was a DNA match for Lueke." He was jailed on $150,000 bail and remained there until his plea deal was struck, according to the Times, and Lueke maintained "that he was out partying with the woman and his teammates but that he never raped or had sex with her."

Lueke was placed on the suspended list by the Rangers, then reinstated after his plea deal.

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said at the time of the trade that Rangers officials assured him Lueke had put the issue behind him. "They assured us that the issues were none that they had any concern about as they moved forward, and for the last couple of years, he's been a model citizen,'' Zduriencik told the Times.

It appears the Rays will announce the signing of C Jose Molina as soon as Monday. Both catchers from last year (Jaso and Shoppach) are now gone.

#13 drtooth

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 12:55 PM

Rays sign Jose Molina

The Rays deal with free-agent C Jose Molina is all set pending the official announcement from the team.

Molina will get a $1.5-million salary in 2012, and the Rays hold a $1.5-million option for 2013, with a $300,000 buyout.

With John Jaso traded to Seattle and Kelly Shoppach's option declined, Molina is in line to be the Rays primary catcher.

Molina, who will turn 37 next season, has been a member of several successful teams, but has never started more than 81 games in a season behind the plate.

Jose Lobaton, who played in 14 games for the Rays last season, is likely the top candidate to share playing time with Molina.

#14 drtooth

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 09:35 AM

Astros given permission to talk to Friedman

The Astros have been given permisison to talk with Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman about their open GM job, the Houston Chronicle reported.

It makes sense that the Rays would grant the Astros permission since Friedman talked previously with the Angels, and that he would talk to the Astros since he is a Houston native and they have made it clear he is their top candidate. Rays officials declined comment, as is their policy on such matters.

However, it remains very unlikely that Friedman would leave the Rays, given the close relationship he has with principal owner Stuart Sternberg, team president Matt Silverman and manager Joe Maddon, and the success they have had.

#15 drtooth

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 03:50 PM

Friedman at the winter meetings

* The team's primary targets are DH, 1B and another reliever or two. They also could add another bench player. The incumbents at DH (Johnny Damon) and 1B (Casey Kotchman) are "very much in the discussion" but there is also a desire to improve the offense, and not weaken the defense. He said he expects to add players through both trades and signing free agents. "There's a lot of very interesting scenarios out there,'' he said.

* There has already been heavy interest in the Rays stable of eight starting pitchers, though Friedman continues to insist he is not looking to deal from their unusual depth. "We're certainly flippant about the depth that we have,'' he said. He did say if he did trade one, it's more likely to be in a deal for immediate major-league ready players than prospects. "I'd be surprised if we did something that didn't help our 2012, our 2012-13 teams,'' he said.

* They aren't looking to add a shortstop, planning for the position to be filled internally from the group of Sean Rodriguez, Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson. Ben Zobrist will spend most of his time at second base, and Matt Joyce will get the opportunity to "play a lot" in rightfield.

* Jose Molina and either Jose Lobaton or Robinson Chirinos will share the catching position, with the time sharing to be determined. "If something lines up there where we can add more depth, that's great, but it's a very difficult position to do that and I wouldn't necessarily count on it,'' he said.

* Though CF B.J. Upton may draw trade interest, it seems unlikely the Rays would deal him since they are seeking to improve their offense. "We're looking to add to our offensive core,'' Friedman said.

* RHP Kyle Farnsworth, who had elbow issues at the end of the season, is feeling good and is expected to be fully healthy for next season. RHP Alex Cobb, who had surgery to remove a rib, is also on track to start the season on time.

#16 Rough Carrigan

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 07:00 PM

Rays trade C John Jaso to Seattle for RP Josh Lueke. From St Pete Times

It appears the Rays will announce the signing of C Jose Molina as soon as Monday. Both catchers from last year (Jaso and Shoppach) are now gone.

But . . but what if one of their starters prefers throwing to that catcher over everyone else?!?

#17 drtooth

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:19 AM

Friedman not leaving

Executive VP Andrew Friedman officially ended the speculation about any potential move to the Astros by declining to even interview with them.

Friedman was considered very unlikely to leave the Rays for his hometown Astros, who received permission last week to talk with him about a top job. Several media reports out of Houston labeled Friedman their top candidate.

Monday night, Rays president Matt Silverman released a statement that said: "Andrew chose not to be a part of the As

#18 drtooth

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 08:29 PM

Rays acquire a RP

The Rays added another potential piece to their bullpen, acquiring RHP Burke Badenhop from the Marlins for minor-league C Jake Jefferies.

Badenhop, 28, spent parts of the last four seasons in the majors, compiling a 13-15, 4.34 record. He worked in 53 games in 2010 and 50 last season.

Badenhop is something of a ground-ball specialist, with a 58.5% ground ball rate that was 10th highest among all pitchers with at least 60 innings.

He is arbitration eligible after making $750,000 last season (and the Rays do plan to tender him), and has one option remaining so he could be sent to Durham if he doesn't make the opening day bullpen.

Jefferies, 24, was a third-round pick in the 2008 draft but didn't develop, playing only six games above the Class A level in four minor-league seasons. He hit .238 with two homers and 32 RBIs in 2011, mostly at Class A Charlotte.

#19 drtooth

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 06:28 AM

Rays tender Burke Badenhop, Jeff Niemann, David Price, Joel Peralta and BJ Upton. Andy Sonnanstine was non-tendered.

#20 drtooth

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:19 PM

Joel Peralta re-signs, avoiding arbitration. 1 year, $2.175M

Edited by drtooth, 20 December 2011 - 02:42 PM.

#21 Saby

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 01:12 AM

This is the Rays' MLB rotation:

Shields Price Hellickson Moore Neimann Davis

And this is the Rays' AAA rotation:

Cobb - Torres - Archer - Barnese - Torra

The Mets/Pirates wouldn't mind that rotation for their major league team.

But the "problem" they have is one starter too many ( Admittedly, Price will go next offseason due to his rising arbitration cost). I guess they could keep the depth for injury contingencies/ innings management for some younger guys. But when you're an extremely low payroll team, you can't afford not to maximize your every asset. With the pen being fairly set, one of those guys is definitely a good bet to be traded.

#22 drtooth

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 09:12 AM

Olney rates Rays #1

ESPN's Buster Olney marked New Year's Day by posting his first power rankings and he has the Rays No. 1.

That's pretty lofty for a team that doesn't have a DH or a first baseman, but Olney - in his Insider-only column on espn.com - says that their pitching is that good: "Barring injury, they will throw out a starting pitcher capable of dominance on most days. Dominance.''

Olney cites the talent of James Shields, David Price and Jeremy Hellickson, then writes: And into this mix the Rays will now add Matt Moore, who has the numbers and the ability of Stephen Strasburg, but hasn't had the advance hype.

After acknowledging the Rays ' financial limitations and the likelihood of additions by the Yankees (ranked fourth) and Red Sox (sixth), as well as the undetermined status of free agent Prince Fielder, Olney concludes: "The Rays' starting pitching makes them extremely dangerous, and as we sit here on New Year's Day 2012, they are the best team in the majors.''

#23 drtooth

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:29 AM

Rays sign Fernando Rodney

$1.75-million salary in '12, a team option for $2.5-million or a $250,000 buyout in 2013

#24 drtooth

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:06 AM


Executive VP Andrew Friedman was involved in some intense negotiations on Saturday - trying to spread an even layer of mulch as part of the Rays' project to build a playground at the Layla's House children center in Tampa.
The community appearance was a break from his months-long work to improve his team's offense and fill holes at first base and DH. While a number of potential candidates have ended up elsewhere, Friedman has yet to find the right deals - in terms of talent and cost - but remains confident he will be successful.
"We're having a lot of conversations on both the trade front and also with free agents,'' he said. "I'm confident that we're going to end up with two hitters that will complement our existing offense and fit in very well. It's very difficult to handicap the timing but I wouldn't be surprised if something happened in the next couple weeks.''
Friedman maintained his off-season long position that both DH Johnny Damon and 1B Casey Kotchman are candidates to return. But realistically if the Rays are going to improve they'd have to upgrade at at least one of those positions, so at most only one would return. And his comment that the new hitters would complement their existing offense could be an indication they don't plan to trade any of their current position players, such as B.J. Upton.
Damon told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday he hadn't heard much from the Rays, but was still hopeful of returning. "You know it,'' he texted. In the meantime, he said he is talks with at least one other team.

#25 drtooth

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:49 PM

Rays sign DH/1B Luke Scott to serve as their primary DH.

Scott, 33, said he has agreed to a one-year deal, with an 2013 option, and his contract includes some incentives. He expects to primarily serve as the DH - which likely means the end of Johnny Damon's tenure with the Rays - and play some at first base. He is a left-handed hitter and throws right-handed.
Scott missed most of last season while undergoing right shoulder surgery in July, but said he is progressing well and passed what was surely an extensive physical with the Rays.

"There's no reason why I shouldn't be ready for opening day,'' Scott said.

When healthy the previous three seasons he put up impressive numbers for the Orioles, hitting .266 while averaging 25 homers with a .348 on-base percentage and .845 OPS.

Scott made $6.4-million last season with the Orioles and would have been eligible for arbitration, but was not tendered a contract by the Orioles.

Scott said he has been hitting off a tee for six weeks and has been doing weight work and just started a throwing program. He admitted he likely won't be ready to make throws from the outfield at the start of the season but shouldn't need much time to be ready, and then can play either corner spot.


#26 drtooth

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:10 AM

JP Howell signs a 1 year, $1.35M deal to avoid arbitration.

#27 drtooth

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:02 PM

Rays avoid salary arbitration with BJ Upton (1yr, $7M), David Price (1 yr, $4.3M) and RHP Burke Badenhop (1yr, $1.075M). They were unable to reach an agreement with Jeff Niemann and will go to arbitration.

#28 drtooth

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 04:50 PM


Minor League signings

The Rays signed 3 players with major-league experience to minor-league contracts, per Baseball America's Matt Eddy:
2B Will Rhymes, a 28-year-old who played 83 games for the Tigers in 2010-11, hitting .283. He spent most of last season at Triple-A Toledo, hitting .306. Rhymes was non-tendered, somewhat unexpectedly, by the Tigers after last season.

OF Jesus Feliciano, 32, who played 54 games for the 2010 Mets, hitting .231. He spent most of last season at Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .263.

RHP Romulo Sanchez, a 27-year-old who had big-league time with the Pirates (2007-08) and Yankees (2010), compiling a 4.04 ERA in 28 games. He spent part of last season in Japan, working in 15 games for Rakuten (0-2, 4.96, 19 Ks in 16.1 IP).

#29 drtooth

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 12:08 PM

According to Jon Heyman's and Marc Topkin's Twitter feed, the Rays have signed Carlos Pena.

#30 drtooth

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:52 PM

Justin Ruggiano is designated for assignment to make room for Carlos Pena

#31 drtooth

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 06:16 PM

Rays sign INF Jeff Keppinger to a 1 year, $1.525M contract

#32 drtooth

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 06:04 AM

A bit late, but Jeff Niemann lost his arbitration case on Feb 3. He will get 1 year, $2.75M

#33 drtooth

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:26 PM

Joe Maddon signs a 3-year extension. To be announced Weds


#34 TheYaz67

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:25 AM

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