The annual baseball winter meetings start next week. The rumor mill will jump into hyperdrive as front offices of each team converge into one meeting locale for a week. There will be signings, trades, announcements, and a multitude of rumors and speculation.
The Tampa Bay Rays are often among the most talked about at the meetings as they are usually dangling a coveted starting pitcher. Sometimes the trigger is pulled at the meetings; sometimes however the gun is loaded and the thing jams and nobody is getting fitted for a new uniform.
The team’s winter meeting history has had its peaks and valleys; sometimes glorious and sometimes, not so much (looking at you Hit Show!).
This will be the Rays fourth winter meetings since the reins of the team were handed to Matt Silverman, who took over for Andrew Friedman. Silverman and his crew have not been shy about pulling the trigger on potential franchise-altering deals.
Their first meetings in 2014 were relatively quiet, as they had already made four trades prior to the gathering. There were of course rumors swirling involving several of the team’s stars, but nothing came to fruition (at least, during the meetings). They spent the week mostly introducing new Manager, Kevin Cash to the media.
A few days after the meetings concluded, the Rays pulled of a massive deal that sent 2013 AL Rookie of the Year, Wil Myers to the Padres. A total of 11 players changed teams in that three-way trade.
The following meetings in 2015 didn’t amount to much either for the Rays. They were involved in a rumor of a trade that would have sent Alex Cobb to the Chicago Cubs for Javier Baez and the talks lasted until the trade deadline in 2017 with nothing ever coming to pass. They also had ongoing extension talks with Jake Odorizzi at those meetings.
A huge whopper came during the 2016 Meetings
BREAKING: #Rays have agreement with Wilson Ramos on 2 year deal pending physical— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 7, 2016
The Rays went out and shocked the baseball world as they signed Silver Slugger award winning catcher, Wilson Ramos to a two-year contract. Ramos has been considered one of the top free agents on the market.
The usual transpired as well with discussion of trades involving Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer, Drew Smyly, and Alex Colome. The only one that would be moved during the offseason was Drew Smyly, but that deal came to pass in January.
The new Rays brass are always active and talking during the winter meetings. There will be all sorts of rumors and speculation around Chris Archer and Alex Colome and there will always be talks of Evan Longoria being traded.
So stay tuned next week: there will be plenty of rumors to follow. We know Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom like to use this time to make and hear offers, so get ready for some signings or trades.