As a team with neither a proven closer nor much money on its books, the Rays theoretically make sense for free agent Craig Kimbrel, the premier reliever on the open market. Reigning American League Cy Young winner Blake Snell agrees, having lobbied the Rays to sign Kimbrel, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. However, officials from the low-budget Rays “have seemed adamant” that they’re not planning to pursue Kimbrel, Topkin writes. On whether Kimbrel would be worth it for Tampa Bay, Snell said: “I think so; I don’t know what they’re thinking. I’m pushing money. I want us to push as much as we’re able to. As much as we can get rid of, let’s go dump it into his hands.’’ Despite Snell’s hope that the Rays will splurge on Kimbrel, Topkin is careful to point out that the left-hander likes the team’s roster as is. Moreover, Snell’s not going to complain if the Rays don’t sign Kimbrel, Topkin adds.
Here’s more on Tampa Bay and one of its division rivals:
- Rays third baseman Matt Duffy is dealing with left hamstring tightness, though the club’s not “overly” concerned, according to manager Kevin Cash (via Topkin and Eduardo A. Encina). However, given that it has been an ongoing issue for Duffy this spring, it’s cause for wariness, Topkin and Encina observe. Duffy, 28, was one of the Rays’ most valuable position players in 2018, when he hit .294/.361/.366 and accounted for 2.4 fWAR over 560 plate appearances.
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will “most likely” make his spring debut next weekend if he gets through his workout unscathed this Monday, manager Alex Cora said Saturday (via Christopher Smith of MassLive.com). The workout will include “everything. Ground balls, hit, run, everything,” Cora revealed. Although the Red Sox won their third championship of Pedroia’s career last season, their success came without the 35-year-old, who only appeared in three games as he battled left knee problems.
- With a reunion appearing unlikely between Kimbrel and the Red Sox, whose bullpen looks like their weakest area, pitching coach Dana LeVangie & Co. are searching for hidden gems from within, Jen McAffrey of The Athletic details (subscription required). Specifically, the Red Sox are hoping to stumble on the next Ryan Brasier, a minor league addition a year ago who went on to enjoy a breakout season at the age of 30. During its bullpen bargain hunting this past offseason, Boston acquired one reliever via trade and another 10 on minors deals, notes McAffrey, who goes on to break down all of the 20 relievers who are currently in camp with the club.