First off, I'm offended. As a guy who was born in Hibbing, Minnesota (2 hours from Canada), lived in Fargo, ND, and eventually spent the better portion of his childhood in Portage, MI (suburb of Kalamazoo); I am offended by how the word 'winter' is thrown around all willy-nilly. It's more like the "First Day of Sweater? Nah, I'm Good" Development Program... but enough about how hardcore I am (I don't even own a jacket!) ... on to the updates!
Our friends over at Sports Talk Florida posted some great video of Willy Adames, Adrian Rondon, and Burch Smith being introduced to the media at the first day of this year's "Winter" Development Program. Here are the highlights:
Willy Adames (19) // POS: SS/3B
... on prospect rankings
doesn't think about it, and only focuses on 'is doing my part and my work and that is the only thing i focus on'
... on where he is in his game and how fast can he move up
defense and speed will be his focus, and he is confident in his abilities. (both mentioned before hitting, FWIW)
.. on any ETA projection??
"nah .... as fast as possible" (I say late 2017)
LOCKER ROOM FASHION STATEMENT: I like the chambray shirt.. casual but fitted. Also, translators hair is on point.
Adrian Rondon (16) // POS: SS
... on what are the biggest challenges
"Preparing myself" (Mature Answer Alert)
... long way away??
"I think I could get to the big leagues earlier than most.. 2019.. 2018
... PRESSURE?? (in reference to $2.95mil signing bonus)
"Everybody has to start as a rookie somewhere" (Mature Answer Alert)
LOCKER ROOM FASHION STATEMENT: Classic football locker room bath towel look. Says, I'll talk to you, but make it quick. I don't want the hot water to run out.
Burch Smith (24) // POS: SP/RP
... on hey, remember when you made your major league debut for the Padres and got rocked by the Rays (1.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER)? Yeah, let that memory flow back into your brain and now answer these questions!!
"it ended up not going well" .. good learning experience and glad he can come back to redeem himself
... do you feel like the old man in this group? (Matt Lauer might be conducting this interview, they are not softballing him!)
only guy in the room that's been in the big leagues .. excited for all the young talent
... Lauer: you were also injured for the majority of last season.. what up with that?
forearm strain.. nothing on MRI, no tear.. no issue going into the season
... on competing for the 5th starter spot
"I didn't know until a minute ago that there was an open spot" .. will pitch the best he can, and wherever he ends up he'll pitch the best he can (I say surprise 5th starter)
LOCKER ROOM FASHION STATEMENT: Rays T-Shirt. I'm fine with it. It says I'm here to work.. I'm a vet so I don't need to dress up, but I'm going to fold my arms because why is Matt Lauer grilling me!
Kevin Cash also spoke with the media yesterday. We already covered his candidates for next year's middle infield, but for more video from Cash -- including his optimism for the 2015 season, and his thoughts on Rene Rivera -- go check out the rest of the coverage by Matt Stein at Sports Talk Florida.