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The Rays Tank: 56 days until Spring Training

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We wish you a Merry Thanksmas, we wish you a Merry Thanksmas, we wish you a Merry Thanksmas, and a Happy New Year.

J. Meric

Twas a slow day in Rays-related news yesterday, but Joe Maddon kicked off his annual Thanksmas festivities around the Tampa Bay area:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Cooking for Thanksmas. I think we set our record for most meatballs made in one day. Had to be close to 2000 <a href="http://t.co/6G3vnuA1Gj">pic.twitter.com/6G3vnuA1Gj</a></p>&mdash; Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysJoeMaddon/statuses/412303714821496832">December 15, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Our 3B coach Tom Foley serving up Thanksmas dinner tonight for the kids at Sallie House in St. Petersburg. <a href="http://t.co/y2VmSGLFNP">pic.twitter.com/y2VmSGLFNP</a></p>&mdash; Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysJoeMaddon/statuses/412711759166726144">December 16, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Thanks to <a href="https://twitter.com/shopsweetbay">@shopsweetbay</a> for the outstanding Thanksmas desserts. <a href="http://t.co/4QduYrPxmV">pic.twitter.com/4QduYrPxmV</a></p>&mdash; Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysJoeMaddon/statuses/412713080364072960">December 16, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Here&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Rays&amp;src=hash">#Rays</a> 3B coach Tom Foley &quot;approving&quot; the sauce at Maddon&#39;s Thanksmas event <a href="http://t.co/JRsvSthKZ4">pic.twitter.com/JRsvSthKZ4</a></p>&mdash; Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) <a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Rays/statuses/412727986245230592">December 16, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>And here us <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysJoeMaddon">@RaysJoeMaddon</a> serving the first meal at his Thanksmas event w/help from <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Rays&amp;src=hash">#Rays</a> staff <a href="http://t.co/p0oPpqQxAt">pic.twitter.com/p0oPpqQxAt</a></p>&mdash; Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) <a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Rays/statuses/412728250117279744">December 16, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Former Rays and the AL East

- Though the Rockies were rumored to be in talks prior to their deal with Boone Logan last week ($16.5 million over three years), J.P. Howell agreed to a two year deal with the Dodgers plus a vesting option, which would guarantee Howell $11.25 million, with a $6.25 million salary in 2016 if he makes at least 120 appearances the first two seasons.

- Pending a physical, Brian Roberts and the Yankees have a one year deal in place for around $2 million dollars, with New York still looking for more infield help:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Sources: Addition of 2B Brian Roberts would not preclude <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Yankees&amp;src=hash">#Yankees</a> from adding another IFer, perhaps free-agent 3B Mark Reynolds. MORE</p>&mdash; Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/statuses/412815158248243200">December 17, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Given Roberts' injury history, <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Yankees&amp;src=hash">#Yankees</a> would not necessarily be comfortable with potential Roberts/Kelly Johnson combination at 2B/3B.</p>&mdash; Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/statuses/412815162501255169">December 17, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Shane Victorino underwent thumb surgery to correct a nerve in his right thumb, but is expected to be back in action for the Red Sox by Spring Training.

Links:

- Dave Schoenfield gave 10 predictions for the rest of the off season, with the Rays trading David Price to the Mariners for we-will-not-trade-him number one prospect Taijuan Walker coming in at number two. Other predictions of note: Mariners also signing Nelson Cruz, Rangers signing Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Garza going to the Angels, Orioles signing Grant Balfour.

- Rob Neyer discussed extreme infield shifts and the effect the growing trend has on power hitters, specifically the frequency with which they bunt.

- Chris St. John has been doing a series at Beyond the Box Score on the success of minor league players in the Majors based on their walks, strikeouts and age.

- Insider piece, but Buster Olney looked at Mike Trout, the disputed/undisputed "best player in baseball" and the future that is soon approaching RE: a long term deal with the Angels.