New Cubs skipper Joe Maddon is excited about the Rays’ list of candidates to take over in the dugout, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “They’ve created a wonderful list, they really have,” Maddon said. “They’ve given themselves an opportunity to interview some really qualified people and make a typically very good Rays decision at the end of the day. I really believe that. You know it’s going to be well thought out, and they’re going to select a solid candidate to lead.” More on the Rays and Marlins..
- Marlins president Michael Hill explained to David Laurita of Fangraphs that the club considers a player’s locker room personality and character to be a somewhat significant part of player evaluation. “I wouldn’t say it’s paramount, but it is part of our decision-making process,” Hill said. “We’re definitely mindful of it. It’s part of the checklist as we go through possibly acquiring a player. We want to try to make sure he fits who we are and who we’re trying to be.”
- Topkin also writes that the Rays figure to make several more 40-man moves and/or trades before the Rule 5 draft, even after dealing Jeremy Hellickson and Cesar Ramos. Sean Rodriguez and Jose Molina appear to be trade candidates though Tampa Bay could instead swallow the $2.75MM to Molina. Moving reliever Brandon Gomes, who is out-of-options, could also be a consideration along with dropping rostered minor leaguers like Mike Montgomery or infielder Tim Beckham.
- A third-party scout in Puerto Rico who saw shortstop Andrew Velazquez, who came to the Rays in the Hellickson deal, was impressed by his recent showing. “Best prospect there, by far. … Super impressive … He’ll move to 2B … Top of order … Fearless … Advanced,” the scout told Topkin via text.
- With the Rays looking to their upgrade offense, Topkin says it’s worth keeping an eye on Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and the Dodgers’ outfielder surplus. Both clubs appear willing to eat significant salary to move those players.
- Expecting the Rays to start spending big if they get a new stadium? Don’t bank on it, writes Joe Henderson of The Tampa Tribune.