On the heels of a surprisingly strong season, Rays general manager Erik Neander tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the team’s “arrow [is] pointing up” as it looks to the future. Neander plainly suggests that the expectation for the club moving forward with this core will be consistent playoff berths, beginning next season. Tampa Bay, stunningly, has just over $9MM on the books in guaranteed contracts next season, though both Matt Duffy and Tommy Pham will be in line for arbitration raises. Both C.J. Cron and Jesus Sucre will also be arbitration-eligible, but Topkin suggests that Cron, Sucre, Carlos Gomez and Sergio Romo may all have played their last game with the organization. Cron is owed a raise on this year’s $2.3MM salary, while Sucre will see a raise on his own $925K salary. Both Gomez and Romo are free agents.
More from the division…
- The Blue Jays will have plenty of roster decisions on their hands this offseason, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com explores thoroughly. Chisholm reports that “early indications” are that the Blue Jays are seeking a “fresh face” rather than a veteran manager to replace John Gibbons, mentioning former Jays infielder John McDonald, Double-A skipper John Schneider and Cardinals Triple-A skipper Stubby Clapp as possible candidates. Chisholm also calls it “likely” that the Jays will add a veteran starter to the rotation this winter, looks at the future of both Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez with the organization and previews a likely roster crunch in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.
- There’s still no official word on the status of longtime Orioles manager Buck Showlter, but it’s been reported for weeks that he’s unlikely to return. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes that official word on Showalter could come as soon as today, and expectations of his departure have not changed. Kubatko also chatted with Adam Jones following what is quite likely his final game as an Oriole (barring a return late in his career). Jones acknowledged the strangeness he felt in hearing the word “rebuild” in Baltimore, as the only time he’d previously heard it was when he was breaking onto the scene with fellow upstarts Nick Markakis and Chris Tillman. Not that it’s been in doubt, but Jones certainly didn’t speak like someone who anticipated a return to Baltimore. “It’s been a great run here, great tenure here, so hopefully go somewhere and see what the next chapter in my career has for me,” said Jones, who received quite the tribute in his final game at Camden Yards yesterday. Showalter allowed Jones to take the field — center field, at that — alone in the first inning of the game before being removed in the top of the ninth to a roaring ovation from O’s fans (video link via MLB.com).
Goodness. If Tampa actually spent money, they could afford Harper, Machado and Kershaw if he ops out.
They don’t need big deals for those guys when they can just steal more guys like Duffy, Wendle, and Pham from other teams.
Though the Rays FO was extremely successful with trades this year. I strongly suggest they keep Cron, Romo and Duffy! Arbitration will not be that high for them and you can always trade at the mid season deadline. This team was great to watch! and will catch on with new fans next year.
Definitely think they should keepDuffy, Cron, and maaaaybe Romo for depth, even if his (Cron) salary was doubled he would still be a bargain if he could replicate a 2+ WAR season. I’m not familiar with the Rays farm, do they have someone waiting to take Cron’s spot? Or are they planning on signing a new player to take his spot, if he doesn’t return that is.
Edit: Romo for depth, Cron/Duffy as everyday players
Problem with Tamp is unless the fans start coming out, their prize players will mature together and before you know it, decisions on who to keep will have to be made. Too bad because the team was great to watch and the few hardcore fans they have deserve more.
Yes they have options. Firstly they have Jake Bauers (Lefty-good on defense but on offense he can’t hit to well) We have Nathan Lowe in triple A minors and he’s Nathan Lowe bro. (Lefty 300 hitter with power) However they don’t have Right hand power so they should need Cj Cron, I hope they keep him.
dimitrios in la
Signing any of those superstars could sink their organization.
Manny and Harper are only concerned with themselves not what is best for the team. Manny and his attitude ruined the Orioles.
Yes, he’s the one who ruined the organization. Not the incompetence coming from the top…
dimitrios in la
Umm, JD, not really sure I’d write off the Orioles failures as related to incompetence. There were bad deals, some non-signings that would have played out nicely for them, as well as other factors. What that FO did for a number of years was showed quite a bit of competence actually.
Duquette and Showalter brought the O’s back to relevance. Many teams should be all over bringing these guys into their organization.
Yea sure Manny and his gold glove and thunder bat ruined the Orioles. Ok sure whatever you say.
But good news for you! He is gone and not coming back. Now what is your excuse
Manny and Harper are about themselves. Manny with his attitude about being a shortstop instead what was best for the team. I pity anyone who signs him he is a cancer
You gotta be a fan of a team the owners claim to be “small market”.
dimitrios in la
Not sure I’d say Manny is a cancer, but he is self-centered, not a team leader and sometimes immature.
True but even if the Rays were the top bidders, and they would not be, I do not see any of those players choosing to play in Tampa in that dome with few fans showing up.
If Carlos Gomez gets even a minor league contract next year he’ll be lucky. Absolutely pitiful at the plate all year although his positive clubhouse influence was a big part of the Rays success.
Os did a good job yesterday in the farewell for Jones. And Jones being the player he is was running around the field handing out bats and balls to fans! He’ll be missed. Whoever gets him better realize how much of an impact he had in Baltimore. This is officially the end of an era. The run from 2012-2016 was awesome and was led by Buck and Adam. Buck really turned the team around starting with the curse of the andino in 2011, and ending the playoff drought in 2012. Adam and Buck will be missed
Absolutely! I’m an O’s fan, but wherever Adam goes will be my #2 team (unless its the Yankees, haha). He’s been great for the city and for the team. Anywhere else will be lucky to have his leadership. Sorry we couldn’t win one here with Adam, but best of luck!
If Adam had played better in the playoffs, made improvements over the course of his career, and/or moved out of CF a few years ago, the Orioles may have had a chance to win one. An extremely lucky Royals team didn’t help either!
dimitrios in la
Yep, not enough respect (amidst a lot of ignorance) re the O’s and their successful run. And, yes, Adam and Buck (plus some other really really high quality guys—many actually) were at the core of that.
Somehow lost in the Adam Jones tribute (so well deserved) is an outward recognition of Buck and all he’s done. But that’s probably just how Buck wants it—he never ever made it about him, but rather about the O’s, their fans and the City.
John McDonald? Sure, why not. Best case scenario the team outperforms expectations. There is no worst case here.
Please decline Solarte’s option. Priority #1.
Should be a pretty easy decline considering they have about 10 middle infield/utility capable guys on the 40 man
Jbigz you are correct. Unfortunately I am a Blue Jays fan. They don’t operate according to what should be obvious.
Tampa overachieved with average talent. They have a very bright future. Definitely think they won the Archer trade. Add 2 or 3 SPs and this team could be scary next season.
They also had an enormous season from Snell. If Snell has an ERA of 2.80 next year he might “only” win 15 games. They’d need to find another 6 wins to match, and then some if they want to contend for a playoff spot. They know they will have 2 great and 2 bad teams in the division. AL Central and West we aren’t sure.
Just the idea that a team with only $10 mil guaranteed on the books next year may not retain a 30 hr player with 3 years of arbitration left (CJ Cron) is amazingly stupid. This team some how won 90 games and considering the short window of opportunity they have of team control over Snell and the other young pieces, they need to try and compete in the very near future. Trading Cron away seems silly unless you’re getting multiple pieces that can help in 2019. Considering how Cron’s 30 hrs was 1/5th of the team total, it would seem he’s an integral part of their power. Rays were 2nd to last in team homers in the AL. Wouldn’t trading Cron weaken the offense?
Corn had a good year, but Tampa showed that you don’t need to rely on the home run to win. Guys like with high obp’s like Duffy, Pham, Wendle, Smith etc. can win games on the bases. Cron May have hit the most homers, but I’d argue he wasn’t even a top 3 hitter on their team.
To win what? They finished 3rd. The idea should be to build off the pieces that helped you to win 90 games not get rid of them. The Detroit Tigers were the only team that hit fewer home runs than the Rays. His arb numbers are going to be modest. They should keep him as one of the pieces.
Win games. I don’t really care where they finished in homers either. They out scored their opponent in 90 games playing their style of ball. And while Cron contributed, he was hardly the reason they were in postseason contention this year.
I think the idea with Cron is that one dimensional power hitters are easy to find. They still get paid in arb raises and he’s not going to be affordable via arb beyond next season. Are you going to want to pay C. J. Cron 10mm per? Because this is probably the only year in arb you’re getting him for less than that figure. He was making over 2 mil last year and the figure will more than double this year. I’d probably keep him for one more year but if they feel like ji man Choi can handle the job he’ll come at a fraction of the cost. If you’re the Red Sox or Yankees it’s an easier decision to make. There’s just no way the rays could ever afford to pay a guy like CJ Cron close to 10 million.
Khris Davis, who has a much higher profile, won $5 mil in his first arbitration case. No way do I see Cron getting more than that. Please stop with the idea that the Rays are so strapped that they can afford to pay that. They have $10 mil on the books and their payroll was only has high as $75 mil last year. We all know they aren’t going to sign any major FA. They can afford to keep Cron and so long as he’s productive his contract would be easy to move. Snell is under control for 5 more years (if they don’t extend him). They better try and win in the next couple of years. I would still expect that Cron thru arbitration should be cheaper than a 30+ hr guy in FA even if he is one-dimensional..
Cron’s base salary this season was 2.3 MM. He is getting a raise on top of that this season. This is ARB 2 for Cron. Not hard to imagine he’d be near 10 mil next year in ARB 3 which is what I referred to. It’s not his first time thru arb so that Davis figure is irrelevant. BTW Davis received 10.5 in his ARB 2 which, if you expect Cron’s production to continue the way it has would be a reasonable expectation for his arb 3 figure. Which at the point would price the rays out of Cron. Simply because his type of production isn’t really worth 10.5 mil on the open market anymore. That’s before taking into account their payroll. Remember Chris Carter? He hit 40 hrs and found himself non tendered. Arb still pays for the pop, even if the other skills are lacking.
I agree, The Rays won’t pay 10 million but the Arbitrators might award only 7-8 since 1b players that are cheap and hit homers are in abundance. I think the Rays traded for Cron to keep him? Anyhow I hope the options for 1b next year are Cron and Ji man Choi. they were great in every way for the Rays.
Stubby Clapp is the most baseball name ever.
I’m pretty sure TB will give Cron that arb-raise. Also considering that Bauers hasn’t proven to be ready for an everyday 1B role just yet.
My hope is CJ Cron back for 2019 with most at bats and 1b along with Ji Man Choi from the left side 1b and DH. During Spring training if Baurs doesn’t hit more to left field (and all fields) he should be sent down to triple A until he does. My belief is Cron and Choi did much better than Bauers in every part of Offense and defense.
Id be inclined to offer him arb one more time. The rays probably aren’t looking at him as more than a player with one year of arb left because after this year he’ll be too pricey for his play. Not the kind of ball club who can pay a guy like Cron 9-10 million dollars
Neander plainly suggests that the expectation for the club moving forward with this core will be consistent playoff berths, beginning next season.
I think the Rays also have some commitment to pick up some (or all) of Longoria’s 2019 contract…..
Realistically, they’re much farther away than they showed. Rays fans ALWAYS forget that other teams have farm systems too (in 2019’s case, the Yanks and Blue Jays), and that comparing the success of Wendle/Bauers/Adames to guys like Soto and Acuna and the Yankee twosome is just silly.
They do some good things; finding Wendle was a stroke of genius (or, more likely, some awfully good luck). But while they were finding Joey on the scrap heap, the Dodgers were finding Max Muncy on the same heap. I don’t think LA would be trading Muncy for Wendle anytime soon.
The Sox are still a young team; the Yanks are young AND have more coming; the Blue Jays have Batman and Robin likely up next year. Oh, and those other teams spend money.
The pitching is really good, overlooked sometimes because of the opener. But their immediate farm products are “meh” at best (Bauers can’t hit, and Adames’ defense/baserunning are just awful; he’s more Tim Anderson than Manny Machado).
The Rays’ best shot is to aim for 2021 or so, where their REAL impact talent (Brujan, Hernandez, Gomez, Franco) bubble up to the MLB roster, and maybe they get a new stadium. And by that time, expansion/realignment will probably happen, getting them away from the division they have to play in now.
The Rays FO will probably be voted the best in 2018. Yes, they picked up Wendle and had no need for a Muncy since OF and 1b are packed with talent. The opener pitching role is a success and being copied by most teams now.! Rays FO will use it more often going forward and Snellzilla is the best pitcher in baseball with Glassnow and Yarborough (16 wins as a rookie) We will be very formidable against Boston and the Yanks next year as we have been beating them up since the All star break.! Enjoy your winter!
Give the Rays more credit than that. They played in the AL East and 1/4 of their schedule against the megabucks Sox and Yanks. Compare them with Cleveland and every team was sub .500 except them. The top 3 in the East won over 300 games combined.
Actually, playing 47% of their games against the AL East worked for their contact-oriented hitting approach (and kudos to them for emphasizing that aspect, tho it was more by necessity than anything else). The defensive infields in the AL East rank from historically bad (BALT), to generally terrible. In fact, besides the Sox’ OF, the defenses in the whole division are borderline hideous. That goes far in explaining the high BABIP the Rays enjoyed.
Again, to be fair, the Rays’ defense was actually pretty good, so they have the advantage there.
As for having “no room for Muncy because they’re ‘packed’, who exactly are they packed with? None of their regulars start in Boston or NY; it’s a stretch to think they start in Toronto. They’re better than what they were; but that really doesn’t mean much.
As for “FO of the year”, please, be serious. They got nothing for Dickerson, whom they had traded Marquez for; Marquez would have put them in the playoffs. Keeping Span/Colome likely would have moved them into that category also. It was salary-dumping moves that really cost them going down the stretch.
The “arrow”, as Neander would say, definitely is pointing up. No one questions it. But their a few years from really being competitive. And that’s assuming no more FO missteps.
Colome wasn’t playing well with the Rays and the the Rays didn’t really have a need for Span
With all due respects Bob you obviously not a Rays fan or watching AL east games. Firstly CJ Cron and Ji man Choi out homered Muncey and were better defensively (more 1b talent in minors). Though Muncey is having a great career The Rays (as i said) had no room for him. Talk to/about the other 28 teams that could use him. We’re happy with 6 defense position J Wendle! As for the Rays record, The team started the season playing the best baseball teams in Boston, Yankees and Houston before April was over and finished 5-17 I believe. I loved Cory Dickerson but he strikes out to much and he now seems to lost his power stroke as well. FO not so wrong? Again I loved Wilson Ramos but we got Michael Perez who hit 300 and was a cheetah behind the plate along with pitch framing. Colome sucked with the rays and Span was easily replaced. As I said the FO was right about all the above decisions. hard decisions since us fans were not with them on some of these. 90 wins in the AL East is nothing to smirk at or not commend. my only issue with FO or mainly the Owner (Stingy Stu) is he demands trading our very good players when they get to expensive. Some our fault down here in Florida but he does have 15k coming to the games when Montreal had 5k before they left. If he keeps his players we can support them. Oh! he has a new TV deal that makes the Rays profitable for the next 10 years.