Rays Aim for Attraction

Topkin:

"We're trying to reverse the image of the Rays organization in the industry," Friedman said. "Our goal is to become a destination spot where players want to play and people want to work. We've made quantum leaps, but we still have a lot of work to do."

There have been talks about signing free-agent (and ex-Ray) lefty reliever Trever Miller, but length of contract remains an issue.

One reason the Rays were comfortable that Willy Aybar's problems (going AWOL, substance abuse) are behind him? A strong endorsement from Pena, who knows Aybar and his family and talked with him over the winter in the Dominican Republic

Obviously cleaning up the misconception about the Rays' franchise was going to take more than a year, you really do feel like this brand has changed since Sternberg took over.

As for Miller, I'm thinking we'll stay in house, but who knows - perhaps he notices the moves and his lack of options and signs here for less than the three million Jeremy Affeldt got, after all Miller only made 1.3 last year and probably wouldn't want much of a raise. Right now I'd look for either Kurt Birkins or Joseph Phillip Howell to be our lefty reliever.  

Someone made the comparison of Carlos Pena being Willy Aybar's Dmitri Young - which is actually a positive thing in this regard except Carlos won't teach them to eat instead of smoke or rap - looks like that's the case. Can't hurt having Aybar's best pal Joel Guzman on the team either.

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