Day one of the annual Winter Meetings in San Diego brought us the first media wide press conferences of Matt Silverman and Kevin Cash, who together followed in the foot steps of a cautious sounding GM and a super-laid-back Manager.
Questions from the press conference ranged from the interview process, following in the footsteps of Tony LaRussa, Al Lopez, and Lou Piniella as Tampa natives who went on to manage, and to Cash's assignment of the No. 16 jersey. The air was relaxed, with Cash making jokes and rolling with every sort of question thrown his way. A nice beginning.
While the White Sox stayed busy yesterday, signing David Robertson and acquiring their own hometown kid Shark, the Rays stayed relatively quiet from a dealing standpoint.
We covered whether the Rays would be buyers or sellers yesterday morning, and from a buying standpoint they will be in search of a second catcher to play between Ryan Hanigan and Curt Casali on the depth chart. Smartly so, as Casali's bat is still a work in progress for the leap to MLB pitching, and Luke Maile's just arrived in Durham.
The news here is that the Rays may be alright with acquiring more than just a band-aid back up. Per Topkin, Silverman claims the Rays have "been active" with free agents and trade scenarios to find another receiver, and are open-minded to veterans or free agents. I don't know how strong the interest would be on either side, but David Ross has my attention.
Previously this winter we profiled a possible Padres match for one of their catchers, but it seems that San Diego may be closing in on a deal with the Dodgers, swapping Yasmani Grandal for Matt Kemp. If so, that takes them out of the running.
Also per Topkin's reliable notes, the outfielders drawing the most trade interest (internally and externally) are currently Matt Joyce and Wil Myers.
Matt Joyce is said to be attracting more attention than David DeJesus as the Rays are talking with several teams about their outfield surplus. And Wil Myers appears to be at least a subject of discussion.
Speaking about the group in general, Silverman said, "With some of the free agents coming off the board teams are more focused on the trade market to fill vacancies, so we've had more knocks on our door than we've had in the prior weeks."
Quite a few free agent outfielders could be expected to sign this week, which may accelerate the Rays market for dealing from the glut of talent on the grass.
Selling now on Wil Myers is an interesting proposition, though not one I anticipate coming to fruition. His relative rookie status and powerful swing are valuable to the Rays, but both aspects are also easily exploitable by pitchers. His glove isn't the defensive wonder the Rays brass would prefer, but he's athletic enough to make it work.
Chalk this up to "for sale at the right price" and the Rays listening for what he's worth. The Rays have only one outfield slot remaining after Desmond Jennings and Kevin Kiermaier, and platoon of David DeJesus and Brandon Guyer takes up the third, if we are ranking by defensive ability. Myers may be destined to DH if he's still with the Rays in 2015.