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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: Less than 48 hours until Winter Meetings

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The countdown is upon us

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Rays GM Erik Neander and VP Chaim Bloom, from 2017

With the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings set to start bright and early Sunday morning, there should be some capital-B buzz swirling around the sport sooner than later. It’s been a bit of a slow week for the Rays, and one that saw a few of their potential target leave the market. As our editor-in-chief covered yesterday, finding the line to balance on—make moves, but not that sell out the future—will be the main goal of the Rays at the Winter Meetings this year.

The Rays certainly seem primed for a move or two before they head into 2019, with a marquee name being the request from many of their fans. There will undoubtedly be marquee names being bantered about at the Winter Meetings, so expect some fun rumors—and hopefully consummations—in the next week or so.

Rays News

  • The Tampa Bay Times has plenty of good Winter Meeting preview content, with Marc Topkin listing both his top five pitchers and top five hitters that the Rays should inquire about at this year’s proceedings. I won’t spoil the whole list, but it shouldn’t be shocking to know that Noah Syndergaard and Nelson Cruz top the respective lists, two names that have been tied to the Rays for a while this offseason.
  • Topkin was a busy man yesterday, as he also wrote up the offseason so far, and ICYMI further introduced Rays fans to recent “process and analytics” coach Jonathan Erlichman, and what his role will be. He’ll also be hosting a Q&A at noon, so check in!
  • Jim Bowden (who may know things) connects Nelson Cruz to the Rays over at The Athletic.
  • Anyone who thinks the Rays are just going to stay entirely inactive this season and keep their payroll around $35 million should also be willing to admit that if that somehow does end up being the case, it’s not because the Rays front office wasn’t trying:

They’re just not going to overpay for the sake of making a deal. (Whether or not they actually should slightly overpay to make a deal, any deal, is a topic for other articles...)

  • Another name that is picking up steam in regards to the Rays is Charlie Morton:

There’s a lot of intrigue to that name, and keep an eye out for some DRB content in that regard later today.

Around the League

  • The Twins made a nice under-the-radar move picking up Jonathan Schoop for only $7.5 million. Schoop is only 27 years old and one season removed from a year in which he hit 32 homers and was worth 5.2 rWAR. That a Rays-like move from Minny.
  • When Jalen Beeks wins the 2020 AL Cy Young, we’ll still get to claim we fleeced the Sox...

(They clearly were quite happy with their side of things, though, and good for Nate—get that paper.)