Joe Maddon to Manage Cubs in 2015

The latest info that sends Joe Maddon to the north side of Chicago for 2015.

Andrew Friedman leaves for the Dodgers

It's the end of an era in Tampa Bay. What does the future hold?

2015 Rays Schedule released

We disect the 2015 Rays schedule.

Dec 23, 2013

LINK LOTTERY: Could 2014 be the Rays' largest payroll ever?

Last week, Cork Gaines of Rays Index posted that the 2014 Rays payroll is now projected to be the largest in Rays history. If true, I gotta wonder, I thought I read somewhere they were gonna cut back the payroll in 2014, not grow it? And if they do grow it, where is the money coming from? TV? [Rays Index]

Here's other items from around the net...

Dec 17, 2013

Evan Longoria engaged

Single no more. Evan Longoria is officially engaged to long time girlfriend and mother of his child, former playmate of the month Jaime Edmondson. Jaime Edmondson announced the news via Twitter.

Dec 13, 2013

James Loney returning to the Rays on a 3-year deal

At the beginning of the month, I wrote that the Rays need to resign James Loney, no matter the cost. Well the Rats have done just that as they have resigned Loney to a 3-year deal worth $21 million, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Marc Topkin reports the deal will likely not be officially announced as final until next week after Loney's physical.

I'm happy the Rays have done this. Keep that Gold Glove caliber infield in tact for a few more years.

Dec 11, 2013

MLB moves a step closer to banning home plate collisions

A collision at home plate
Varitek and Posada colliding at home plate in 2005.
Courtesy: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters
Today the MLB Rules Committee approved a ban on home plate collisions. A play that's brought us many heart stopping, memorable moments in baseball lore. The rule now gets submitted to the MLBPA for final approval. If approved the rule will be in place for 2014. The players are expected to approve the rule. However, the article also notes that the "MLB would be able to unilaterally implement it in 2015." Seemingly making the change inevitable.

Dec 10, 2013

RAYS HISTORY: One year ago, the Shields/Myers trade

One year ago today, the baseball world was rocked when the Rays and Royals agreed to a trade that sent James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named later (which ended up being Elliot Johnson) to the Royals for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard.

In what ended up being a rare trade that was a winner for both teams. The Rays recieved one of baseball's top prospects who when called up in June went on to hit .293 with 13 HRs and 53 RBIs in 88 games. Myers, as we know, was ultimately named the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year.

The trade also worked for KC as Shields went on to be their ace, pitching to a 13-9 record and a 3.15 ERA in 228.2 IP.

Sheilds, Davis to KC; Myers to TB [BRaysball Talk]

Dec 9, 2013

LINK LOTTERY: David Price trade talks continue

David Price in other Uniforms
David Price in other Uniforms
Courtesy: @TBTimes_Rays
Happy Monday, Rays fans. It's also the first day of the Winter Meetings. Stick with us here at BRaysball Talk for your Winter Meetings coverage.

Yesterday in the Tampa Bay Times, they discussed possible future homes for David Price and they even had pictures made up of him in other uniforms. You can see that picture to the right. (Click to enlarge.)

Dec 5, 2013

VIDEO: The Happy Heckler sorta appears on MLB Network

Tonight on MLB Network's show "Intentional Talk", as they do every episode, they did the segment called "Kevin's Highlights" (named for host Kevin Millar.) Tonight they talked about the best fan and player interactions and to my surprise, they featured The Happy Heckler.

Dec 4, 2013

LINK LOTTERY: Recapping the craziness of Tuesday

Well that happened. Seemed like it was gonna be a nice quiet day and things just exploded around 12:30pm ET and it ended with the Rays having acquired catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds and relief pitcher and former closing stud Heath Bell from the D-Backs. It should be noted that the Rays originally drafted Bell in 1997 in the amateur draft. He went unsigned and was eventually signed by the Mets in 1998. Now he's coming to pitch for the team that originally drafted him and is looking for the Rays to work their magic on him and revive his career like they did for Rafael Soriano, Kyle Farnsworth, and Fernando Rodney.

Dec 3, 2013

Rays acquire Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell in 3-team trade [UPDATED]

Ryan Hanigan
Heath Bell
Ryan Hanigan (top) and Heath Bell (bottom)
Courtesy: J. Meric/Getty Images via BleacherReport.com (top)
USATODAY.com (bottom)
[UPDATE, 3:45pm ET]: Marc Topkin reports that Bell's $9 million 2014 salary will be payed by Marlins, D-Backs and Rays. Rays will pay approximately $5 million of it.

[UPDATE, 2:58pm ET]: Ken Rosenthal reports the full details of the trade. Rays get Hanigan, Bell and money; Reds get David Holmberg; D-Backs get Justin Choate and player to be named later.

[UPDATE, 2:48pm ET]: Ken Rosenthal reports the deal involves the Rays also acquiring Heath Bell as well. The deal required approval by the commissioner's office.

Rays announce improvements to the Trop for 2014

Rays 360
A rendering of the project, known as "Rays 360",
viewed from the RF concourse.
Courtesy: RaysBaseball.com
Late this morning the Rays announced changes to Tropicana Field for 2014. The project, being billed as "Rays 360", will allow fans to walk 360 degrees around the lower bowl of Tropicana Field. To do this, the batter's eye restaurant in center field will be removed and replaced with an open patio "with open views of the playing field and new food and beverage areas easily accessible to all ballpark patrons" says a press release released by the Rays.

"These renovations reflect our constant commitment to providing a first class gameday experience at Tropicana Field," said Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. "A visit to the ballpark will be even more enjoyable because of these new features and attractions."

Sam Fuld and Wesley Wright non-tendered; Jose Molina deal final

Last night was the tender contract deadline, and the Rays non-tendered OF Sam Fuld and RP Wesley Wright and are both now free agents. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Friedman said of the non-tenders that a return for both is possible.

Specifically about the Fuld non-tender, Friedman said, "We didn't make this move thinking that there would necessarily be finality to it." About Wright, Friedman said that "[this] move isn't about his talent as much as it's about our current bullpen setup."

Dec 2, 2013

Rays likely turning attention to first base

James Loney, Rays' 1B in 2013
James Loney, Rays' 1B in 2013
Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
Saturday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote that with the Rays having likely re-signed Jose Molina along with having two bullpen pieces in Mark Lowe and Juan Carlos Oviedo in place that the Rays will likely turn their attention to first base. Topkin also notes potential candidates The Rays could trade for "the Mets' Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, Texas' Mitch Moreland, Miami's Logan Morrison, [and] the Angels' Mark Trumbo". Free agent candidates noted are "Justin Morneau, incumbent James Loney, Corey Hart, maybe Kevin Youkilis or Mark Reynolds." Topkin also mentions that "[in] theory, the Rays would prefer a left-handed hitter, given their everyday lineup already has four right-handers".