Rays head to Winter Meetings with plenty of questions
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings kick off on Monday, and you can count on raysbaseball.com to bring you all the details about what unfolds.
The annual spectacle takes place at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, where media, general managers, agents, managers and countless other front-office personnel will gather to meet until Thursday.
On the agenda are luncheons, industry meetings and, on Thursday, the Rule 5 Draft. But of primary interest to fans are the trades and free-agent activity that inevitably come from so many baseball minds being under the same roof.
To that end, we’ll have you covered here each day — all day — with pertinent rumors, impending signings and any news that breaks. You will be able to find reports on the main site, of course, with the blog and Twitter complementing the main coverage.
While news can break at any time, there are a handful of set events that will be covered extensively on the team’s official site.
Joe Maddon will meet with the media on Monday, and the Rays manager should have plenty of analysis and insight to offer.
Daily reports will be supplemented by a nightly recap of each day’s events — including the Rule 5 Draft.
And then there are all the questions that need answering.
Will the Rays trade David Price? If so, will other Rays players be packaged with him in a blockbuster deal? Can they find a new designated hitter and first baseman? Is there another piece that can be found for an already well-stocked bullpen?
In the comments sections, let us know what you think the priorities should be, and who you would target. Who do you hope to see at Tropicana Field next season? Who would you be willing to dangle as trade bait? Which player could be the hidden gem of this year’s free-agent class?
“Heath Bell is also a guy that we’ve liked for quite a while,” Friedman said. “He’s still got really good stuff. He missed a lot of bats this year, commanded the zone better than in years past, just a lot of good indicators that we feel can put him in a position to come here and have a lot of success.”—Andrew Friedman on newly acquired reliever, Heath Bell.
“Ryan Hanigan is a tremendously talented defensive catcher,” said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations. “[He] really shuts down the run game, [and] takes a lot of pride in what he does behind the plate. And we also like what he can do in the batter’s box, especially against left-handed pitching. He’s a guy we’ve had our eye on for a while, and so when we had the opportunity to acquire him, we were aggressive to do so.”—Andrew Friedman on newly acquired catcher, Ryan Hanigan
“This project will significantly enhance the total ballpark experience,” said Rays Senior Vice President of Development and Business Affairs Michael Kalt. “It will make it much easier for our patrons to navigate the ballpark, and allow them to enjoy the game from exciting new areas and dynamic new vantage points.”—
“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.”—
“It’s been a productive few days; I think we have a lot more clarity right now in terms of what might be more real,” Friedman said Wednesday night. “We’ll regroup over the next few days and try to set our plan in motion as quickly as we can.”—GM Andrew Friedman on the GM meetings
“We clearly have to do something about first base,” Friedman said Tuesday. “We have to figure out who’s going to be our second catcher and potentially fill out the bench and [add] a reliever and possibly two.”—Andrew Friedman at GM meetings in Orlando.
“I’m not really surprised, honestly,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “You look at the body of work that Wil provided from the time he was up there, the expectations he had on him when he arrived and how he fulfilled those expectations and just the level that he played at. … Overall, you look at his entire body of work and what he meant to us in regards to wins and losses, he was pretty important.”—Joe Maddon on Wil Myers being named AL Rookie of the Year.