The regular season is over, and despite a ferocious second half run, the Rays didn’t make it to the postseason, finishing the year with a record of 90-72.
We now have 135 days until pitchers and catchers report to Port Charlotte to kick off spring training for the 2019 season.
Here is what to look forward to, over the course of those 3,240 hours of non-Rays baseball action.
October 2nd - October 31st
Free Agency Begins
Morning after World Series
The morning following the conclusion of the World Series, any players on the final year of their contracts will officially become free agents. Carlos Gomez and Sergio Romo are the most notable players set to leave the team, with several other players also potentially leaving the organization to test the open market.
November 5th to November 15th
The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) award finalists will be announced on November 5th. The winners of the awards will be announced daily, starting on November 12th and concluding on November 15th.
The Rays have several players and a manager in contention for these awards. Blake Snell is among the front runners for the American League Cy Young award, while Joey Wendle should garner some attention for Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, Kevin Cash will likely be one of the finalists for Manager of the Year.
40-Man Roster Finalized
Prior to the Winter Meetings, each team must lock in their 40-man rosters. It is their last chance to add a player, from within their organization, prior to the start of the 2019 season. In years past, we have seen the Rays make several trades to clear room on the roster.
The final day for the Rays to decide whether or not to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. As of right now, the Rays only have four players that are arbitration eligible: Jesus Sucre, C.J. Cron, Matt Duffy, and Tommy Pham.
Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft
December 9th to December 13th
Speculation and rumors run rampant during the annual Winter Meetings held in the middle of each offseason. Last year, the Rays answered the Giancarlo Stanton trade by acquiring Joey Wendle... that turned out much better than everyone anticipated.
Also, they shook the baseball world two years ago when they signed catcher Wilson Ramos, will history repeat itself?
On the last day of the meetings, the Rule 5 Draft will take place. The Rays have seen their system targeted in the annual draft with the likes of Burch Smith, Joey Rickard, and Tyler Goeddel being selected the past few years. Of course, you can’t forget about Josh Hamilton being selected during the 2006 draft.
As of now, the Rays have through the end of the year to confirm their plans to leave Tropicana Field, or be locked back into their lease through 2027. Earlier this year, the Rays selected their preferred site in Ybor City, and revealed renderings of the proposed stadium in July, but funding still has not been secured.
In January, teams will attempt to negotiate contracts with their arbitration eligible players that were tendered contracts in November. The Rays are one of several teams who employ a ‘file and trial’ system. If they are unable to come to terms before the deadline, they will go to an arbitration hearing in February.
Pitchers and Catchers Report