Tampa Bay Rays News
6-29-16: The Rays had lost 11 games in a row until Monday when their offense erupted against Eduardo Rodriguez and the visiting Boston Red Sox. Tampa Bay homered three times, including the first of the season by Nick Franklin. Oswaldo Arcia, who the Rays acquired from the Minnesota Twins as emergency outfield depth, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the win. However, on Tuesday, the Rays placed closer Alex Colome on the disabled list and lost the game, 8-2.
6-20-16: Sunday’s 5-1 loss at the hands of the San Francisco Giants was the Rays’ fourth straight loss. Tampa Bay scored the first run of the contest, as Logan Forsythe scored on a throwing error by Jake Peavy in the first inning. However, the Rays did not score for the rest of the game.
4-20-16: Hope springs eternal in the Tampa Bay Rays camp this April, but the team has struggled out of the gates to begin the 2016 campaign. The Rays sit at just 6-7 on the season and have split 10 home games through the first three weeks of play. With 72 games remaining at Tropicana Field this season, the average price for Tampa Bay Rays tickets is $101.73 on the secondary market.
9-28-15: The Rays headed into their weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays as winners of their last three games, but the Blue Jays were too much for the Rays at Rogers Centre. Steve Geltz allowed Josh Donaldson’s walk-off home run in the ninth inning of Sunday’s contest, as Toronto completed the sweep. On the bright side, Mikie Mahtook hit his sixth home run of the season in the loss.
9-25-15: The Tampa Bay Rays may be in a position to welcome back a long-time member of the team and organization just a week or two removed from honoring another in Carlos Pena. Pena signed a deal with the Rays to retire as a member of the Tampa Bay organization and the team may also be able to offer former Rays player Aubrey Huff a minor league deal. Huff caused the speculation to happen by posting on his Facebook page that he felt mentally and physically stronger than he ever was during his playing career followed by a persuasive and purposely elusive “hmmmmm?” Huff is now 38-years old and been retired from Major League Baseball since the 2012 season after a 13-year big league career. Huff posted a career .278/.342/.464 triple slash for the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants. If Huff does attempt a comeback you would have to think that the Rays would be willing to extend him a minor league deal with the hopes of catching lightning in a bottle with the MLB veteran.
9-21-15: Logan Forsythe and Brandon Guyer each homered on Sunday as a part of another big offensive effort by the Rays against the visiting Baltimore Orioles. Guyer’s solo home run tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Then, Kevin Kiermaier delivered a walk-off single that got Tampa Bay a split of the series.
9-18-15: The Tampa Bay Rays made a great gesture towards one of their former players this week when the team agreed to sign first baseman Carlos Pena to a one-day contract in order to allow him to retire as a Tampa Bay Rays player. Pena is 37-years old and spent 14 seasons in Major League Baseball but more of his tenure was spent in Tampa than with any other MLB franchise. No season was better in his career than his 2007 campaign where he hit 46 home runs as the first baseman for the Rays which earned him a three-year extension worth $24.25 million and a 1.037 OPS. Pena put up a triple slash of .230/.360/.483 in five seasons with the Rays organization with much better numbers coming during the team’s 2008 and 2010 playoff runs. While the Rays made the career of Carlos Pena end on a high note the team could not give the same joy and satisfaction to their top prospect Blake Snell after failing to call him up to the Major Leagues as a September call up. The left-handed starting pitcher is not letting that get him down though as he still has hopes of making the team out of spring training in 2016 after posting a 1.61 ERA with a 10.9 K/9 ratio in 134 innings pitched.
9-14-15: On Sunday, the Rays fell to 69-73 on the season, as they dropped yet another series. The rubber game against the visiting Boston Red Sox went to 13 innings, but Tampa Bay was unable to scratch across a run in the 2-0 loss. The Rays, who lost their 11th consecutive extra-inning game, accumulated just three hits against Boston pitching.
9-11-15: The Tampa Bay Rays have a very small window to win with this current team as the payroll is expected to decline beginning in 2016. Tampa Bay had a payroll around $72 million in 2015 and that number is expected to go down steadily starting in 2016 with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and DH Jon Jaso set to hit free agency. Despite the team ready to lose two significant pieces from a club that already struggled this season the owner is still confident that the team can contend again in 2016. The Rays were hit harder than almost any team this season by the injury bug, especially to the pitching staff that saw Alex Cobb and Matt Moore miss most of the 2015 season, and have stuck around in the American League Wild Card chase despite the injuries. Tampa Bay is still mathematically alive in the second Wild Card chase in the American League but it seems like just a matter of time before Tampa Bay runs out of time in the race and their 2015 season ends. Kevin Cash’s job looks secure for the 2016 season and beyond after signing a five-year deal in the winter before the 2015 season.
9-7-15: The Rays, who once again made it back to .500 on Tuesday, could not get their record to above .500 this past week. They fell to the New York Yankees on Sunday to fall to 67-69 on the season. Asdrubal Cabrera and Kevin Kiermaier homered in the rubber game at Yankee Stadium, but Chris Archer allowed four runs in 6.1 innings in the 6-4 loss.
9-4-15: The Tampa Bay Rays started their week off by announcing their roster moves and September call ups this week. That list of players included Matt Moore, Richie Shaffer, Mikie Mahtook, C.J. Riefenhauser, Kirby Yates and Luke Maile. Matt Moore is the most recognizable name of the list by far after coming back from Tommy John surgery with the Rays this season. Moore immediately began to struggle with the club before Tampa sent him down to Triple-A Durham in hopes of helping him find his command and effectiveness. Moore absolutely dominated Triple-A hitters after the demotion to the tune of a .207/.273/.333 triple slash against and a deceiving 3.30 ERA. Moore struck out 43 batters in the minor leagues while walking just eight proving that he seemingly got his control issues under control which was highlighted by a start where Moore struck out 16 batters out of the 18 outs he recorded on August 22nd.
8-31-15: Solo home runs from Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier led the Rays to Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the visiting Kansas City Royals. Tampa Bay moved to two games below .500 after salvaging the final game of the three-game series. The Rays next head to Baltimore to take on the Orioles before traveling to Yankee Stadium.
8-28-15: The Tampa Bay Rays continue to stick around in the American League East Division race and the American League playoff race despite a slew of contributing factors working against them. There hasn’t been a team more ravaged by injury this season than the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East and the team has won despite the injuries. The club is still under the .500 mark as the week comes to a close at 63-64 but the team is only eight games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the division and in the thick of things for the second Wild Card. The New York Yankees hold the first Wild Card spot in the American League at the end of the week while the Rays trail the Texas Rangers by just 2.5 games. The schedule is not going to do Tampa Bay any favors though as the team begins the new week with a big series with the best team in the American League, the Kansas City Royals.
8-24-15: Although the Rays fell on Sunday, they took two of three games from the Oakland Athletics over the weekend. Tampa Bay will need to continue to win series to make up ground in the race for the postseason because the team has a negative run differential and is in fourth place in the division.
8-21-15: The Tampa Bay Rays are getting healthy right when it matters as last week the team welcomed back center fielder Desmond Jennings and this week the team saw Drew Smyly return to the mound. Smyly had a devastating shoulder injury that was originally diagnosed as a season ending injury before the Rays and Smyly decided to try resting and rehabbing the injury. To make room on the roster for Smyly the Rays were forced to designate Jose Dominguez for assignment after the right-hander posted a 6.26 ERA this season. Smyly will return from his torn labrum injury in his shoulder looking to improve upon his 1.96 ERA, 9.1 K/9 ratio and 2.0 BB/9 ration in 64.1 innings pitched this season. While the starting rotation got a bit of a shot in the arm with the return of Smyly the team took two steps back when they lost one of their best relief pitchers in Jake McGee. The Rays left-hander will miss anywhere from six to eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery after beginning the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury.
8-18-15: Every starter for the streaky Rays collected a hit on Monday in their 9-2 victory over the Astros in Houston. The win stopped Tampa Bay’s three-game losing streak, which was preceded by a four-game winning streak. On Tuesday, the Rays play their second game of 2015 at Minute Maid Park, as a part of a 10-game road trip that began in Arlington and moved to Houston and Oakland.
8-14-15: The Tampa Bay Rays are seeing the rewards of some non-trades lately that the team declined to make before the July 31st trading deadline. The team reportedly received a ton of interest in relief pitchers Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee but the team decided to hold onto both of them in an effort to build toward the 2016 season. The team may decide to trade these two veteran arms or the team could decide to welcome Desmond Jennings off the disabled list this week and make a run at one of the two Wild Card playoff spots up for grabs in the American League. Jennings has missed much of the 2015 season with an injury but was activated before the end of the week leading to Joey Butler being optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding roster move. Drew Smyly is not far behind Jennings as he is expected to come off the disabled list next week as the Rays get healthy at just the right time. Tampa stood pat at the July 31st trading deadline this season but they may get back more off the disabled list for free than they could get in any particular trade this month.
8-7-15: Tampa Bay Rays relatively stayed pat at last week’s July 31st trading deadline aside from selling off an aging veteran or two to contenders. The trade deadline started off when the team sent right-handed relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen to the Minnesota Twins for a pair of minor league pitchers Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia and ended when the team sent David DeJesus to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The team received pitcher Eduar Lopez in the deal with the Angels but not before the team lost veteran catcher Bobby Wilson to the Texas Rangers in a straight waiver claim. One possible replacement for Jepsen on their pitching staff is Drew Smyly who may come off the disabled list before the calendar turns to the month of September. Smyly needs at least two more rehab starts before joining the Rays big league club after resting and rehabbing a shoulder injury that originally was diagnosed as season ending. The Rays won’t need a fifth starter until August 18th which could line up perfectly with Smyly if he makes his second rehab start on Tuesday, August 11th.
8-7-15: On Wednesday, the Rays claimed former Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava. That day, their three-game winning streak ended with their loss to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Closer Brad Boxberger, who had his 27th save of the season in Monday’s 5-4 victory over the White Sox, suffered his seventh loss of 2015 after delivering a walk-off walk to lose Wednesday’s contest.
8-3-15: On Saturday, the Rays placed outfielder Steven Souza on the 15-day disabled list after he was hit by a pitch that fractured his left hand. Although Tampa Bay lost that day, the team bounced back to salvage the final game of its weekend series with a 4-3 victory at Fenway Park. On Friday, the Rays sent Kevin Jepsen to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league pitchers Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia.
7-31-15: The Tampa Bay Rays came into this final week before the July 31st trading deadline as big time buyers in the market. The Rays didn’t do much selling at the deadline but they did start the week off by making a relatively minor deal involving David DeJesus. Tampa sent DeJesus to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Right-handed pitcher Eduar Lopez. Tampa will save around $2.9 million in salary by sending DeJesus to Anaheim as DeJesus has roughly $1.9 million remaining on his deal and the lefty also had a team option for the 2016 season with a $1 million buyout. Tampa was not done there and tried to trade starting pitcher Nathan Karns before the deadline although no deal was ultimately struck. Karns is already 27-years old but has pitched extremely well for Tampa Bay this season and has loads of team control left through arbitration. Where the team failed to trade Karns they more than made up for it with a trade for Kevin Jepsen. Jepsen was sent to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia.
7-27-15: With their 5-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, the Rays have now won only one game in each of their three series since the All-Star break. Matt Moore continued to struggle, as he allowed five runs in as many innings in the rubber match loss. Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe each hit solo home runs to account for Tampa Bay’s runs on Sunday.
7-24-15: The Tampa Bay Rays were able to sign their second-round pick from the Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft Chris Betts before the deadline passed on July 17th. Betts was drafted 52nd overall in the draft by Tampa and came attached to a $1,160,500 draft slot recommendation. Betts ultimately signed for an above-slot deal worth $1.485 million before the team revealed that Betts would require Tommy John surgery before starting his professional career. Betts is a prep-school catcher that is thought to be an offensive-first type catcher drawing comparisons to the Yankees catcher Brian McCann. Speaking of the draft the Tampa Bay Rays were one of the lucky teams to receive a Competitive Balance draft pick in the 2016 MLB First Year Players Draft. Every season six teams pick in the Compensation Round A immediately after the first round of the draft while six other teams pick after the second round in the Compensation Round B and the Rays were one of those lucky teams. Tampa earned the 6th pick in the Compensation Round B of the draft giving the Rays an extra draft pick due to their limited payroll, small market and lack of on the field success in recent years.
7-21-15: The Rays’ six-game post-All-Star break road trip has not been successful through the first four contests. Tampa Bay’s offense has been the biggest culprit, as the team did not score more than three runs in any one of the four games. After losing two of their three contests to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rays fell to the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-3, on Monday.
7-17-15: The Tampa Bay Rays roster shuffling continued this week when the team placed Preston Guilmet on release waivers and ultimately traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers claimed Guilmet off waivers from Tampa Bay after the Rays designated him for assignment to make room for catcher John Jaso. The team did not stop there as they also designated Everett Teaford for assignment and ultimately sent him to Triple-A after he cleared waivers. Teaford had the option to elect free agency or accept his assignment and Teaford accepted the assignment to stay inside the organization for now. Teaford spent time with the Rays bullpen this season after spending much of his time in Triple-A in the Durham starting rotation where he posted a 5.56 ERA in 68 innings. While the Rays continue to roster shuffle the team hopes that their struggles on the field and with their attendance will force the hand of the league when it comes to getting out of their stadium deal in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred believes that the Rays and the Oakland Athletics will ultimately work things out and get new deals without leaving their respected cities.
7-13-15: The Rays had struggled mightily until they returned home to face the Houston Astros. Tampa Bay swept Houston, which dropped the Astros out of first place in the American League West. Meanwhile, the Rays moved up to second place with their 4-3 victory on Sunday in which their bullpen threw four shutout innings.
7-8-15: The Twins have started their series against the Baltimore Orioles very well, as they have won the first two games by a combined score of 12-5. Miguel Sano, who was promoted last week, hit his first home run of his Major League Baseball career on Tuesday to give him a hit in all six of his games thus far.
7-8-15: The Rays snapped their seven-game losing streak on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, but after Monday’s postponement, the Kansas City Royals swept Tampa Bay in the doubleheader played the next day. On Tuesday afternoon, Matt Moore, who was making his second start since Tommy John surgery, threw fewer than five innings and allowed four runs for the second consecutive start.
7-3-15: The Tampa Bay Rays began the week by sending some of their middle infield depth in the minor leagues to the Detroit Tigers in a relatively minor move. Detroit acquired Alexi Casilla from Tampa for a player to be named later or cash considerations according to the Detroit Free Press. Casilla has been in the major leagues this season and appeared in just one game with the Baltimore Orioles last season before his breakout season with the Minnesota Twins in 2013. The team also announced the signing of first round pick Garrett Whitley this week out of New York. Whitley, a high school outfielder, was drafted 13th overall by the Rays and came attached with a $2,962,100 slot recommendation and signed for the full slot deal to begin his professional career with the club. The Rays fell out of first place in the American League East Division later in the week but the team is starting to get some of their injured star players back right in the nick of time as Matt Moore and James Loney both came off the disabled list this week. Moore had missed the entire 2015 season to date after having Tommy John surgery in 2014 while Loney battled an injury and a quick 15 day DL stint.
6-30-15: The second-place Rays registered just three hits and went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position on Monday, as they fell to the Cleveland Indians, 7-1. Nathan Karnes threw six innings of two-run ball, but it was Tampa Bay’s fourth loss in its last five games. On the bright side, Grady Sizemore homered for the first time this season on Monday.
6-16-15: Erasmo Ramirez’s six shutout innings and Tampa Bay’s 11 hits got the first-place Raystheir fourth consecutive win. Although they left 13 men on base, they beat the Washington Nationals, 6-1, on Monday. Logan Forsythe went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs. Kevin Kiermaier had two doubles and scored two runs.
6-8-15: The Rays performed extremely well last week, bringing their record to five games above .500. Their 3-1 victory on Sunday also pushed them to 17-11 on the road in 2015. Chris Archer threw seven innings, had 11 strikeouts and allowed just one unearned run in the win.
6-5-15: The Tampa Bay Rays learned that the team would once again lose relief pitcher Grant Balfour this season after he opted out of his minor league deal while shortly after hearing the whispers about a possible retirement. Balfour shot down any retirement rumors this week though as the veteran reliever told reporters he was still considering a few options with a handful of teams presumably on a major league deal. Speaking of the Rays pitching staff the team continues to boast one of the best pitching staffs in all the league once again despite trading away a ton of their top talent and having a ton of pitching currently on the disabled list. Matt Moore and Alex Cobb are still on the disabled list for Tampa Bay while Drew Smyly looks to work his way back to the major leagues but the Rays have ridden the arms of Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer all the way to the top of the American League East division. The Rays have been at the top or near the top for most of the season despite losing players like James Loney to the disabled list and David Price to the trade market in 2014.
6-1-15: The Rays fell back to .500 on Monday after falling to the Los Angeles Angels, 7-3. The loss snapped Tampa Bay’s two-game winning streak, but Kevin Cash’s squad has dropped seven of its last nine contests. Alex Colome allowed five runs in six innings on Monday, and the Tampa Bay’s offense struggled in the loss.
5-30-15: The Tampa Bay Rays started the week in first place of the American League East division but that lead may dwindle fast as the team is starting to pile up even more injuries to the MLB team. The team is already without the likes of Matt Moore and Alex Cobb and will now be without their first baseman James Loney for an extended period of time. Loney was diagnosed with a broken finger this week and will be out at least four-to-six weeks with the injury possibly forcing the team to look outside the organization to replace his defense and his presence in the lineup. Unlike Loney the team lost another player for an entirely different reason this week when the team learned that relief pitcher Grant Balfour opted out of his minor league deal with the club. Balfour was already designated for assignment once this season by the club and signed a new minor league deal before the latest opt-out.
5-25-15: James Loney, who could not extend his hitting streak to double-digit games on Saturday, collected two hits on Sunday, but the Rays dropped both of those games, as they split
their four-game series with the Oakland Athletics. With the New York Yankees
struggling, the Rays took advantage and moved to the top of the American League East.
5-18-15: Tampa Bay’s bats were on fire on Sunday, as they destroyed the Minnesota Twins’
pitching to salvage the final game at Target Field with an 11-3 victory. The Rays posted
double-digit runs for just the second time this season along with a season-high 19 hits.
Jake McGee, who was activated from the disabled list last week, made his season debut with a scoreless inning on Sunday.
5-11-15: The Rays split their four-game weekend series with the Texas Rangers to stay two games
above .500 at 17-15 in second place in the American League East. However, Tampa
Bay’s rotation took a hit recently. Alex Cobb will undergo Tommy John surgery soon,
and Drew Smyly, who was placed on the disabled list recently, looks like he will need
season-ending surgery on his torn labrum.
5-4-15: Over the weekend, the Rays placed Desmond Jennings on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 26, due to a knee injury. Tampa Bay hosted its three-game weekend series at Tropicana Field. It was originally scheduled to be played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but it was moved because of protests in Baltimore. The Rays scored just four runs combined in the series, as they dropped two of the three games.
4-28-15: With Sunday’s 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rays won their fifth game in a row. In the contest, Chris Archer went seven scoreless innings, and he has now gone 26.2 straight innings without giving up an earned run. The Rays entered Monday’s contest against the New York Yankees tied for first place in the American League East, but Tampa Bay fell that evening, 4-1.
4-21-15: Although the New York Yankees swept the Rays in their weekend series, Steven Souza Jr. accumulated five hits over the three games. He went 3-for-5, including a home run, and drove in all the team’s runs in Sunday’s 5-3 loss. Last Thursday was the Rays’ last victory, as Chris Archer had 11 strikeouts over seven shutout innings in Tampa Bay’s rubber game with the Toronto Blue Jays.
4-14-15: Last Thursday, the Rays placed John Jaso on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist contusion. However, with Tampa Bay’s 2-1 victory on Monday in Toronto, the Rays moved their winning streak to three games. In the win, Jake Odorizzi threw eight innings, giving up just one run and two hits.
4-7-15: In Monday’s Opening Day game, Tampa Bay’s first run scored of the season came on Evan Longoria’s third career Opening Day home run. However, the Rays scored just one more run the rest of the game, as they fell to the Baltimore Orioles, 6-2. Last week, Tampa Bay acquired right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for left-hander Mike Montgomery.
3-31-15: Last week, the Rays released some details about their Opening Day game on April 6. When they host the Baltimore Orioles on that Monday afternoon, the team will retire Don Zimmer’s No. 66 in a pregame ceremony. On Friday, the Rays named 26-year-old right-hander Chris Archer as their Opening Day starter.
3-24-15: Last Wednesday, the Rays said that Alex Cobb is expected to miss his Opening Day start due to right forearm tendinitis. He needs some rest before Tampa Bay makes a decision
about putting him on the disabled list to begin the season. In other injury news, an MRI
on Steven Souza’s right forearm was fortunately negative.
3-18-15: On Sunday, the Rays optioned former top infield prospect Hak-Ju Lee and right-handed pitcher Jose Dominguez to Triple-A Durham. They also optioned catcher Justin
O’Connor, infielder Ryan Brett and left-hander Grayson Garvin to Double-A
Montgomery while reassigning catcher Luke Maile and pitchers Dylan Floro and Robert Zarate to minor league camp.
3-3-15: Right-handed relief pitcher Ronald Belisario’s fractured left shoulder has forced him out for two weeks. On Friday, the Rays released outfielder Josh Sale, who was the selected 17th overall in the 2010 amateur draft by Tampa Bay. However, after underperforming in the minors along with having several suspensions, the Rays parted with the 23-year-old.
2-24-15: 2-24-15: Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi added 17 pounds this winter, almost all of which were added in his lower body. He is hoping that this extra strength, stability and body control will allow him to be more consistent throughout the 2015 season and beyond. Meanwhile at spring training, Desmond Jennings will plan on playing in both center field and left field because the team likes Kevin Kiermaier’s center field defense.
2-17-15; Last week, the Rays signed infielder Jake Elmore to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The longtime minor leaguer has played mostly second base with some shortstop experience as well. He has played in a career 87 major league contests, and they have all come in the last three seasons.
2-9-15: After missing all of September 2014, Desmond Jennings was happy to say that his left knee is back to full strength. Matt Moore, who was out for most of the 2014 season due Tommy John surgery, threw two successful 15-pitch mound sessions last week. The 25-year old lefty looks to be back a couple months into the upcoming season.
2-5-15: The Tampa Bay Rays had a disappointing season in 2014 considering the talent they brought to the table and finished fourth in the AL East with just 77 wins. This offseason, some major moves were made in the front office as Matt Silverman is now the new President of Baseball Operations and a new manager, Kevin Cash, will replace Joe Maddon, who opted out of his contract this past October. The Rays also traded away players such as Yunel Escobar, Ben Zobrist and Wil Myers, Rays tickets for the 2015 season have an average price of $99.94 on the secondary market. The Rays home opener against the Orioles have tickets at a current secondary average price of $154, with a get-in price of $56.
10-1-14: It's difficult not to wonder how the Rays' season might have played out had the team held on to David Price. Price has struggled since that trade, but at the time of the swap, Tampa Bay was two games under .500 and only six games out of a wild-card spot. There's a chance that Joe Maddon's squad would have been able to secure the second wild-card spot in the AL given how poorly the A’s and Mariners played down the stretch.
9-30-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have given up on the 2014 season for obvious reasons as the hot stove rumors are already circulating around the team this week. Many analysts are suggesting the Rays package Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi in a deal that would resemble the James Shields and Wade Davis swap with the Kansas City Royals a couple seasons back with Jeremy Hellickson as the center piece for the Rays. The Rays outfielder Matt Joyce also believes that he will be traded this offseason as Tampa continues to try and lower their payroll for 2015. Joyce is in his final year of being arbitration eligible and entering his age 30 season expecting a raise on his $3.7 million contract from 2014. The Rays are trying to keep their heads above water in a market that may not be best suited for a major league club and definitely took a step back when the team went “all in” with an $80 million payroll in 2014. Apparently $80 million only buys a fourth place team these days as the franchise was forced to trade their star player David Price at the July 31st trading deadline, The team drew only 1.446 million fans this season and the team does not look likely to secure a new stadium any time soon in the Florida area. Tampa Bay finished the 2014 season with a 77-85 record and will not be in the 2014 postseason.
9-25-14: Tampa took a series from the Yankees last week but dropped one to the White Sox. They are now 32-28 since the All-Star break. It’s not the season many expected them to have, but the Rays have rebounded nicely from a horrible 24-42 start to the season. It will be interesting to see how Tampa opens up playing time for Nick Franklin in 2015. Franklin was acquired in the David Price trade and has really opened up some eyes at the plate.
9-23-14: The Tampa Bay Rays promoted infielder Nick Franklin this week after acquiring him from the Seattle Mariners in the David Price three way trade with the Detroit Tigers. Franklin only hit .210/.288/.290 in the minor leagues this season but will provide the Rays some much needed middle infield depth as a September call up. Franklin was once known as one of the Top 50 prospects in the game and looked to be well on his way living up to the hype in the first half of his rookie season in 2013 with the Mariners as he hit .268/.337/.451 in 169 plate appearances. The Rays announced last week that the team was extremely likely to reduce their payroll in 2015 which came to a surprise to many around the league. Tampa has the contract of David Price off its books in 2015 and may trade outfielder Matt Joyce or pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to keep payroll down.
9-18-14: Tampa Bay’s pitching staff has certainly made things tough on opponents, as they rank second in MLB with a 2.85 team ERA since the All-Star break. In fact, the Rays need just 68 strikeouts in their final 11 games to surpass the single-season team record of 1,428 set by the Tigers a year ago. Drew Smyly was shut down for the year last week with a career-high 153 innings pitched. He went 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in seven starts since coming over in the David Price trade.
9-16-14: The Tampa Bay Rays announced that the team expects their franchise high payroll from 2014 to go down in 2015. The Rays currently have a $80 million payroll but you have to keep in mind that David Price will not be on the payroll next year and Heath Bell also comes off the books in Tampa. Tampa does not seem to be big free agent spenders though as most of their savings for Bell and Price would likely go to pay for arbitration raises for Matt Joyce, Jeremy Hellickson, Jake McGee, Desmond Jennings, and Drew Smyly along with pay raises built into contracts for James Loney and Grant Balfour. Another member of the Rays that will be a part of the 2015 plans is Neil Wagner as Wagner signed a rare two year minor league deal this week with Tampa. The deal includes a 2016 invitation to Spring Training. Wagner, the 30 year old starting pitcher, had Tommy John surgery in August and is expecting to miss most, if not all, of the 2015 season and will look to break camp with the Rays in 2016 with this deal. While this kind of deal is rare it’s not the first as the Rays also offered Juan Carlos Oviedo, the artist formerly known as the Marlins Leo Nunez, a deal for the 2013 season with a $2 million club option for the 2014 season as he also rehabbed from Tommy John surgery.
9-12-14: Tampa was swept by the Blue Jays last week, but the Rays rebounded to take two out of three from the division-leading Baltimore Orioles this past weekend. They have taken one game from the Yankees this week. Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly have both been absolute stud in the second half, while Jake Odorizzi is a magician with the ball. The team's pitching staff entered this week with 1,296 strikeouts on the year, leaving them 132 short of tying the single-season record of 1,428 set by the Tigers a year ago
9-9-14: The Tampa Bay Rays had the opportunity to trade shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Oakland Athletics last week after he was claimed on revocable waivers but ultimately pulled him back and held onto the shortstop. This week we got a glimpse into the reasoning behind keeping Escobar when speculation arose that prospects Tim Beckham and Hak-Ju Lee would not be ready to take over the shortstop position in 2015. Also the team does not seem confident in the defense of Ben Zobrist at short in his age 34 season or Nick Franklin’s defense anywhere other than second base. The Rays are also unlikely to replace him and his production for less than the $5 million that Escobar is slated to make in 2015 so the Rays will hold onto him and hope for a rebound on his 2014 season. Tampa also had some movement in their attempt to secure a new ballpark as it was announced that a deal was in the works between the team and the city of St. Petersburg. The city has exchanged some potential sites for a new stadium with the team and while nothing seems close or imminent this is the first important step towards getting the Rays a new ballpark to play in.
9-4-14: Somehow even with the trade of David Price at the deadline, the Rays still have the best ERA in
majors since the All-Star break at 2.57, but that was not enough to keep them in contention for a
wild-card spot in the AL. The issue has been their offense. Evan Longoria is having a down year,
and veterans Ben Zobrist and James Loney are the only consistent production Tampa has had.
9-2-14: The Tampa Bay Rays had a quiet week this week both on and off the field as the August revocable trade deadline came and passed without any significant moves. The Rays did designate catcher Ali Solis for assignment and sent him to Triple-A. Solis could accept the assignment or elect free agency but ultimately accepted his outright assignment and will report to the minor leagues. The Rays newly open 40 man roster spot will be filled by prospect Steve Geltz. Geltz was promoted as rosters expanded on September 1 as the Rays begin evaluating their talent for the future. Tampa currently sits in fourth place in the AL East division with a 66-71 record and sit 14 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles. The Rays entertained the possibility of getting one of the two Wild Card spots in the American League before trading away ace pitcher David Price but the team has struggled since the trade. Tampa is 4-6 in their last 10 games although the team still has a +15 run differential due to good pitching and timely hitting.
8-27-14: Tampa still has a long road ahead if they are going to be playing in October, with a 8.5-game deficit in the AL wild-card standings to make up. Starter Alex Cobb has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since the All-Star break. He’s 5-0 with a 1.16 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in eight starts. The Rays kicked off this week with a big four-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore. They lost the first two games, but look to rebound on Wednesday and Thursday. They take on the Red Sox over the weekend as they look to climb back over .500.
8-26-14: The Tampa Bay Rays reportedly asked the Toronto Blue Jays for top prospects Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison in return for ace starting pitcher David Price. This deal ultimately did not happen since Toronto saw adding Price for that package plugged one hole while creating another hole or two on the team. The Rays placed Yunel Escobar on revocable waivers this week and the shortstop was claimed by the Oakland Athletics over the weekend. Escobar was pulled back from waivers and is now unlikely to be traded this season since the second time he is placed on waivers the waivers are not revocable.
8-20-14: Tampa Bay continues to hang around, sitting seven games back for the second wild-card spot in the AL. A series loss to the Yankees over the weekend didn't help their cause and dropping two straight to the Tigers really hurt. They end the week playing the Blue Jays. They will need their starting rotation to step up even more in the coming weeks.
8-19-14: The Tampa Bay Rays lost one of their prospects this week after the 23 year old former first round pick Josh Sale had another run in with Major League Baseball. Sale is ranked as the Rays 24th best prospect as recently as 2013 before missing the entire season with conduct issues with the team. Now Sale has lost 50 more games after failing a test for recreational drug use. The Rays manager Joe Maddon was very vocal about the sellout crowd in Tampa over the weekend when Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees visited the trop. Maddon ripped the fans for making more noise for the division rival in Jeter who is retiring at the end of the season than they have for the home team, something that did not sit well with the manager. I am sure losing two out of three to the aforementioned Yankees also did not sit well with Maddon.
8-13-14: Tampa took two out of three from the Chicago Cubs over the weekend, and they kicked off this week against the AL-worst Texas Rangers. So far, they have split with Texas. They are still just 6 games back for the second wild-card spot, though they will have to pass five teams to get there. Even with David Price gone, the Rays still have one of the better rotations in the American League, and if they can get hot offensively at the right time, they’ll still have a chance.
8-12-14: The Tampa Bay Rays continue to win even though they traded their ace starting pitcher away in David Price and the Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has no regrets. Sternberg does regret not acquiring a bat at the trading deadline but sees the Price move as good for the now and the future of the club. The Rays continue to stay in fourth place in the AL East division but seem to be right in the thick of things for the second AL Wild Card. There has been conflicting reports come out this week regarding the Price trade. One report stated that the Rays could not trade Price to the division rival New York Yankees but another report said the team had 29 potential trade partners for their ace, including New York. To close out the week the Rays released both Erik Bedard and Juan Carlos Oviedo after designating both pitchers for assignment last week.
8-6-14: I’m still kind of confused as to why the Rays traded David Price to the Tigers for pretty much nothing. Drew Smyly made his debut with Tampa Tuesday night. Smyly who fell to 6-10 on the year, gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks, in 5 1/3 innings of work. Tampa Bay has now lost three straight and five of their last six after an 11-1 stretch.
8-5-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have been linked to trading ace starting pitcher David Price and second basemen Ben Zobrist for over a month now and the deadline came and went and Zobrist is still in Tampa Bay. The same cannot be said for Price as he was moved as a part of a three team trade with the Detroit Tigers and the Seattle Mariners. In the deal the Tigers acquired Price for this season and next while the Mariners acquired Detroit’s center fielder Austin Jackson. The Rays acquired Drew Smyly,. Nick Franklin, and Willy Adames in the deal. Franklin will start his Rays career in Triple-A but is seemingly the replacement for Zobrist at second base in the long term.
7-30-14: The Tampa Bay Rays still have their ace starting pitcher David Price but the market for the lefty seems to be heating up the closer we get to July 31. As of right now the St. Louis Cardinals seem to be the front runners for Price’s services but the Rays have a lengthy winning streak going in a mediocre division and may be contempt to hold on to their ace until the offseason. The Rays have crept within striking distance in the AL East and have leapfrogged the Boston Red Sox into fourth place in the division. The Rays may ride this winning streak and hold on to Price and Ben Zobrist to attempt a run at the playoffs. The Rays have the best pitchers ERA in the second half this season through the first seven games of the second half.
7-28-14: After being one of the worst teams over the first half of the season, Tampa Bay has been arguably the best recently. With the Rays’ victory on Friday against the visiting Boston Red Sox, they extended their winning streak to eight games. In that contest, David Price threw eight innings of three-run ball with 10 strikeouts.
7-24-14: Jake Odorizzi allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings of work and Yunel Escobar highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a two-run double to lead Tampa to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday night. The Rays have now won a season-high six straight games and have outscored their opposition 36-11 during the run. Odorizzi, who gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked three improved to 4-1 over his last seven starts. He has allowed just three earned runs or less in 15 of 20 starts this season.
7-21-14: The Tampa Bay Rays are less than two weeks away from the trading deadline and still have David Price in their starting rotation. Talks between the Rays and the Seattle Mariners are heating up for Price as the M’s are said to be willing to include the highly coveted Taijuan Walker in a deal for Price. Tampa has also expressed an interest in infielders DJ Peterson and James Paxton in any potential deal for Price. Ben Zobrist’s name came up in talks as well as the Mariners look to get both players if possible in a deal. The Mariners are said to be willing to include Brad Miller in any deal for Zobrist, Price, or both.
7-19-14: The Rays extended their winning streak to three games with their 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Ben Zobrist’s fifth-inning home run cushioned Tampa Bay’s lead, and the Rays’ bullpen threw more than three scoreless innings in the win. It will be difficult for Joe Maddon’s club to get back into the postseason race, but the American League East is far from Major League Baseball’s best division.
7-15-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have gone over their international spending cap after signing Adrian Rondon to a deal worth $2.95 million. The Rays originally were slotted at $2,998,900 for this year and have signed other international free agent’s besides Rondon to go over the cap. The Rays did acquire three international bonus slots from the Miami Marlins worth about $1 million for right hander Matt Ramsey. The Rays trade rumor mill with David Price has gone quiet recently as the Rays have slowly climbed back into contention a little in the AL East. The Rays are technically in fourth place winning a tie breaker with the Boston Red Sox but are only nine games out of the division. The Rays have a ton of talent on the team and could easily win 15 out of 20 and get right back into things and Tampa seems now reluctant to trade Price right now.
7-14-14: The Rays cannot seem to catch a break since they came home. Although they were looking strong on the road, they have fallen back to double-digit games below .500 with their two consecutive losses. On Wednesday, Tampa Bay let up three ninth-inning runs to fall to the Kansas City Royals, 5-4. Then, the Toronto Blue Jays topped the Rays on Friday, 8-5.
7-10-14: Evan Longoria drove in two runs, Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson went 4 1/3 innings in his season debut, as Tampa Bay beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Tuesday night. The fourth-place Rays, winners of 10 of their last 13 games played, are still nine games behind AL East leading Baltimore. Hellickson, who was coming back after arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in January, gave up just one run and six hits.
7-7-14: The Rays have looked a lot better recently. They took three of four games from the Orioles in Baltimore and swept the Yankees in New York. Although the Rays dropped Thursday’s game to the Detroit Tigers, Evan Longoria’s home run and Sean Rodriguez’s two-run triple helped them bounce back with a 6-3 victory on Friday. Tampa Bay achieved a season-best eight-game winning streak on July 4, 2013, so Joe Maddon hopes that the Rays will have another winning streak beginning with their victory on July 4, 2014.
7-3-14: With trade rumors swirling, David Price came within one pitch of extending his remarkable strikeout streak, as he lead the resurgent Tampa Bay Rays to victory over the New York Yankees 2-1 Tuesday night. Tampa has now won fourth straight. Price struck out nine Yankees and he fanned at least 10 in each of his previous five starts. He was trying to join Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat six straight times. The Rays are 9 ½ games back of Toronto for the AL East lead.
7-2-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have one shot at success this season and that involves the trade of David Price. The Rays are ready to trade Price now if the deal was right and are even willing to trade within the American League East division, albeit for a higher price tag. The Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, and others are scouting every Price start and are the teams most heavily involved in the bidding. Price is having the worst statistical season of his career but the sabermetrics tell a different story, which could help the Rays and Price. Price is only 28 years old and is under team control for this season and next and may command a package like the one that Cliff Lee fetched in 2009. Lee was also re-traded in 2009 which is also another possibility for Price which could allow him in Yankee pinstripes.
6-30-14: The Rays are finally showing some signs of life after yet another difficult month. They remain 12 games back in the American League East, but took advantage of their relatively easy schedule recently. Amid all the David Price trade rumors, they took multiple series from the Houston Astros and hope to seek revenge against the Baltimore Orioles after splitting their doubleheader on Friday.
6-26-14: Starting pitching has been a serious problem for Tampa all-season long and those struggles continued Tuesday. Chris Archer, who fell to 4-5 on the year, gave up five runs and seven hits in seven innings for the Rays, who loss 6-5 to the Pirates. The Rays have now lost 20 of 28. Tampa starter David Price, who will get the start in the series finale, has been subject of trade rumors recently. The Rays are 13 games out of first and have no real shot at making the postseason. It maybe their best interest to trade the lefty for young assets.
6-24-14: The Tampa Bay Rays are still looking to be sellers at this point this season but reports say that a fire sale is unlikely, although David Price is still said to be on the move. The lists of teams interested in Price’s services include the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers are said to be the favorite to acquire Price but they may have to include Joc Pederson to get the deal done. The Rays, on the other hand, are said to unlikely trade anyone else, especially Ben Zobrist, unless a deal just blows them away. The Rays hope to trade Price and other veterans to the National League and prefer to keep him away from other American League East teams unless they plan to overpay by a lot.
6-18-14: Chris Davis’ grand slam in the third inning was the difference as the Rays dropped Tuesday night’s game to Baltimore 7-5. Tampa Bay lost 14 of 15 games to dip to 24-42 back on June 10, their lowest point since the end of 2007. The Rays are 16 games under .500, winners of four of their previous six, and 13 games behind first-place Toronto. For a club that’s yet to have a winning streak of more than four games this season, Tamps would have to play .759 ball over the next month just to get to .500.
6-17-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have announced that Grant Balfour is no longer their closer after struggling all season in the 9th inning for the club. Balfour had almost just as many walks, 20, as he did strikeouts, 21, at the time of the demotion and a 6.46 ERA after signing a two year deal worth $12 million this offseason. The Rays are instead moving towards a closer by committee and if anyone can make that work for the first time in history its manager Joe Maddon. The Rays also signed their first round pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft Casey Gillaspie to a full slot deal worth $2.035 million.
6-10-14: The Tampa Bay Rays received some terrible news on the Wil Myers front learning that Myers will miss at least the next two months with a fractured wrist. The earliest that Myers is expected to even begin rehabbing the wrist fracture is in five or six weeks and that could be far too late for the fading Rays team. Myers will not be back before the July 31st trading deadline and could become big sellers at the deadline. The Rays opened the 2014 season with their largest payroll ever but could be primed to trade veterans like David Price, Ben Zobrist, and Matt Joyce. The Rays outlined their plans for Price recently saying they needed three top players for Price or they would be more than willing to pull him back until the offseason. Price has one more season of team control after this season. The Rays began restocking their farm by selecting Casey Gillaspie 20th overall out of Wichita State to play first base in the future in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft on Thursday.
6-3-14: The Tampa Bay Rays ace starting pitcher started a benches clearing episode between his team and the Boston Red Sox when he hit David Ortiz with a pitch. Ortiz said that he lost all respect for Price after the incident and this could very well be the beginning of a rivalry between the two clubs. The Rays Price was very critical of David Ortiz and his “this is a war” comment reminding us all that American soldiers are all over the world fighting the real war. The Rays showed more fight in the brawl then on the field lately though and are well under .500 and out of the American League East division race.
5-28-14: The Tampa Bay Rays kept the Boston Red Sox losing streak going over Memorial Day weekend extending the losing streak to 10 straight. While the Rays had a good weekend sweeping Boston they are still far out of contention in the American League East division and may be looking at trading David Price if they can. There are worries across the league due to the loss of velocity on Price’s fastball this year, down somewhere near 3 MPH on average, which is usually the sign of decline and/or injury.
5-21-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Jayson Nix to a minor league deal with a July 15 opt-out date after being designated for assignment from the Philadelphia Phillies earlier in the month. Nix was presumably signed after super utility man Ben Zobrist was added to the disabled list for Tampa. Tampa needs help as they currently sit in the basement of the American League East division with a 19-26 record which may force their hand into trading ace starting pitcher David Price this July 31 trading deadline. The Rays have been hit hard with the injury bug and the lack of depth has really come back to haunt Tampa. The Rays are 4-6 in their last 10 games and are five games back in the division through a quarter of the season.
5-15-14: The Tampa Bay Rays are one of the most disappointing teams in the American League this season and currently sit in last place in the American League East division two weeks into May baseball. The Rays have been hit by the injury bug with Matt Moore and Alex Cobb going down to injuries but have also seen the bullpen struggle and David Price not pitch up to his potential. The Rays designated former closer Heath Bell for assignment last week as the revolving door in the pen continues under manager Joe Maddon. The Rays did witness outfielder Wil Myers hitting an inside the park home run against the New York Yankees earlier in the month so there is always that.
5-7-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have had a season to date of ups and downs including injuries to major stars like Matt Moore and Alex Cobb and at the same time have seen the likes of Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers take steps forward elite status. The Rays bullpen is still full of question marks though and may have a couple more now that the team has announced that they have designated relief pitcher Heath Bell for assignment. This could be a costly move for the Rays financially as they are potentially on the hook for around $5.5 million of his remaining salary, which is significant on such a small market team like Tampa. The Rays have the money to spend though and seem willing and poised to blow past the international spending cap that every team is allotted every signing period, beginning July, 2 every season, and are willing to pay the penalties that come along with the spending spree.
4-28-14: The Tampa Bay Rays did not have a great start to their 2014 season after losing #2 starting pitcher Matt Moore to Tommy John surgery and Alex Cobb to a disabled list trip. Cobb was struck in the head with a line drive off the bat and will miss the next month to two months with the injury. The Rays continue to play well and have spent most of the first month of the season in second place in the American League East division despite the injuries on the back of stars David Price and Evan Longoria. Even with the star power and the winning ways down in Tampa the Rays still struggle to draw more than an average of 20,000 fans per night which is disturbing and not an encouraging trend. Speculation has always been there that the Rays would move, even inside the state of Florida and possibly to Tampa, Florida from St. Petersburg, Florida, and the numbers suggest that this may be a possibility. The attendance, and subsequent lack of revenue for payroll, may force the Rays to trade Price as early as this trading deadline. Vote for Price, Longoria, Chris Archer, and all your favorite Rays players for the MLB All Star Game as voting has opened this week for the game.
4-21-14: The Tampa Bay rays are currently in fourth place of the American League East division and just finished up a strong showing at home against the New York Yankees. Although the series resulted in a four-game split please leave it up Yankee pitching 30 runs scored in the middle two games. Both resulting in wins for the home team. After their off day temple will remain at home to host the Minnesota Twins for three-game set. Third baseman Evan Longoria is having a strong season through the first three weeks batting .3 to 4 with 10 runs batted in.
4-14-14: The Tampa Bay Rays continued an up and down start to their 2014 season, but after two full weeks of baseball action sit in a first place tie atop the AL East with a 7-6 record. The Rays got the week started with a 2-1 series loss to the Kansas City Royals and missed out on a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds thanks to a rough 12-4 blasting on Sunday. Matt Joyce kept his bat hot this past week, as he still has a very solid .355 batting average and seven RBI’s through the first two weeks.
4-7-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have been hot and cold out of the gates in 2014, as they split their first series of the season (2-2) with the Toronto Blue Jays and then ended the first week with two wins out of three games with the Texas Rangers. Matt Joyce has been the unquestioned star in the early going, hitting a blazing .538, along with one homer and five RBIs. David Price has helped set the tone early from the mound, leading the Rays with 12 strikeouts and one win en route to a 4-3 start.
4-1-14: The Tampa Bay Rays began the 2014 MLB season in style, taking it to the Toronto Blue Jays in all facets of the game, winning 9-2. Starting pitcher David Price rode a shutout into the eighth inning and ended the night with just two earned runs to help the Rays start the season off on a high note. Matt Joyce was a stud on the offensive end, knocking in three runs in a game that was never close.
3-27-14: The Tampa Bay Rays got some discouraging news as pitcher Alex Colome has been suspended for 50 games due to steroids and PED's, Boldenone specifically. Colome, 25 years old, has been a big part of the Rays bullpen in recent seasons and was even part of the fifth starter competition in camp before the suspension was announced by the Commissioner's Office of Major League Baseball. Colome was ranked as the fifth best prospect in the Rays system and now has to be replaced for basically the first two months of games in 2014. The Rays also lost another pitcher when Tampa released Erik Bedard before he opted out of his deal since he did not make the Opening Day roster. Tampa remains willing to sign him to a minor league deal if Bedard cannot find a Major League deal by the time the 2014 season opens up.
3-20-14: The Tampa Bay Rays had an unusually active offseason after signing Grant Balfour and James Loney while acquiring Heath Bell and Logan Forsyth in trades. Those trades did not involve David Price as previously speculated so Tampa went ahead and announced Price as their Opening Day starter to no one's surprise. The Rays fans are once again excited to see what the team will do this season in the American League East, although more than likely from the comfort of their own couch and not by purchasing a ticket at Tropicana Field. The Rays still have the best record in the Grapefruit League and have won eight of their last ten games, including five wins in a row, this spring behind strong starting pitching and timely hitting.
3-14-14: The Rays debuted a new slogan for the 2014 season. “Rays Up” encourages both the team and the fan to show stronger support in 2014. With numerous giveaways and post-game concerts the team should see an increase in attendance from previous seasons. Despite the lackluster fan support, the team has been one of the most successful in the AL during the decade.
3-13-14: The Tampa Bay Rays had a shaky bullpen in 2013 and helped that in 2014 with the free agent signing of Grant Balfour to close games, replacing Fernando Rodney. Tampa, under Joe Maddon, has one of the best Grapefruit League records this season behind strong play from Evan Longoria and company. David Price was part of trade speculations and rumors all offseason long but it still on the team and slated to start on Opening Day unless a lot changes between then and now. The Rays brought first basemen James Loney on a three year deal in hopes that 2013 was not a fluke or a contract season and that he can repeat his .299 average with power and a solid glove at first base. Wil Myers is an exciting young player to watch as well as Desmond Jennings so it makes you wonder why the Rays have so many problems selling tickets and putting people in Tropicana Field.
3-12-14: The five most expensive home games of the Tampa Bay Rays 2014 season are: September 17th vs the Yankees, August 16th vs the Yankees, April 19th vs the Yankees, July 26th vs the Red Sox (with free Tote Bag giveaway), and August 15th vs the Yankees (with free cooler giveaway).
3-11-14: The Rays 5 most expensive remaining Spring Training games are: March 25th vs Boston, March 23rd vs Boston, March 14th vs Atlanta, March 19th vs Baltimore, and March 16th vs the Red Sox. Tickets for Rays Opening Day March 31st vs Toronto currently average $96 on the secondary market, with cheapest ticket at $34.
3-5-14: The Tampa Bay rays had to deal with some forced changes to their pitching rotation this February as they signed veteran Eric Bedard minor-league deal while Jeremy Hellickson is going to be out until at least May due to elbow surgery. Starting player Ben ZObrist made his spring debut this week and said he felt great and didn't complain about his ailing back at all. Zobrist is a versatile player and is slated to start at second base in 2014 for the Tampa Bay rays.
3-4-14: The Yankees' Derek Jeter, who will be entering his final season in the big leagues, recently expressed interest in owning a team. If the situation were to come about, the Rays would be the likely candidate. The Rays rank last on the list of Forbes most valuable franchises, valued at $451 million.
1-24-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have just recently signed free agent closer Grant Balfour to a two year $12 million deal this past week in an attempt to improve their bullpen. For this upcoming season the Rays will heavily rely on All-Star Evan Longoria to be the best player on their team to go along with one of the better starting rotations of any team in the league led by David Price and Matt Moore.
1-7-14: The Tampa Bay Rays have re-signed their first baseman James Loney three-year deal with $21 million. However there is risk of losing their closer Fernando Rodney to free agency. Rodney is seeking around $10 million annually on a multiyear contract and is being heavily pursued by the Baltimore orioles.
12-9-13: Despite being a very tough division which is kept them out of the playoffs for several years the Tampa Bay rays have one thing going for them they compete well against both the Yankees and the Red Sox. Continuing their strategy of grooming young pitchers and never spending top dollar the rays have managed to always compete for a playoff spot all throughout the season. Perhaps that Big contract free agent that always seemingly eludes them would be the antidote to get them over the hump. However the Tampa Bay rays are no charity case and third baseman Evan Longoria is no slouch. Last season Longoria led the rays in home runs RBIs and run scored.
10-8-13: The Rays cut Boston's lead in the series to 2 games to 1 with their 5-4 win on Monday night. Jose Lobaton won it for the Rays with a walk-off home run off Sox closer Koji Uehara in the 9th.
10-7-13: After beating the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card play in game the Tampa Bay Rays find themselves in a 0-2 whole on the verge of getting swept look to hold off the Boston Red Sox to stay alive in the American League Division Series.
9-30-13: Coming into the final weekend of the regular season the Tampa Bay rays are one of baseballs hottest teams. After sweeping both the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees the rays are still trying to make a push into the playoffs. The Tampa Bay rays are currently in the wildcard lead in the American League and will conclude their regular season with the series against the Blue Jays over the weekend. As usual solid pitching was the meat and potatoes for the Rays success. However this year the offense of production was improved compared to years past as Evan Longoria eclipsed 30 home runs and the team was 12 in the major leagues in overall batting average. The left-hander David Price led the team in strikeouts with the hundred and 47.