There’s only one spring training game left you guys! Today the Rays get a preview of the renovated Tropicana Field when they take on the Tigers in the final exhibition before the start of the regular season. Ryan Yarbrough gets the start against former Ray Matt Moore.
MLB Trade Rumors: Rays have approached others about extensions. Mark Polishuk reports that the Rays front office have at least had initial discussions with WIlly Adames and Brent Honeywell about contract extensions, showing they are further ready to invest in the team’s future.
Further reading: Who should the Rays target next for a contract extenson?
An interview with Mike Zunino: Our guy Neil Solondz he sits down with catcher Mike Zunino. In the interview, he talks about learning the new pitching staff, adjusting to the Rays innovative strategy, and working on hitting with hitting coach Chad Mottola.
Rays heading into 2019 with high expectations - Juan Toribio, MLB.com: The Rays beat writer reviews the team’s offseason and the confidence going around the clubhouse.
Here’s a look at the Rays’ farm system - Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com: The Rays graduated quite a few players out of their deep system in 2018, but still rank 2nd best in all of baseball. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo sits down with Mitch Lukevics to talk about the system’s progression over the last few years, as well as who to keep an eye on.
Q&A with Charlie Morton - Josh Tolentino, The Athletic ($): Tolentino interviews Rays pitcher Charlie Morton as they chat about retirement, spring training, opening the season against his former team, expectations, and more.
Is this the dawning of a new era of Rays contention? - Eduardo Encina, Tampa Bay Times ($): Encina discusses whether the Rays are in fact for real—or if last season was a fluke.
One bold prediction for each MLB team in 2019: The one for the Rays isn’t all that bold.
Ben Lindbergh of The RInger talks about how the opener has changed how we analyze baseball and value players. In the piece, he describes Ryan Yarbrough as ‘the bulkiest of the bulk guys,’ and shouts out our own JT Morgan for noticing how Yarby’s WAR value was affected by his lack of starts.
Finally, There’s a new ERA estimator, as Connor Kurcon of Six Man Rotation introduces XRA into the world. It attempts to more accurately determine how many runs a pitcher should have allowed by injecting Statcast batted ball data into the equation. It’ll be interesting to see if and how it’s embraced by the internet baseball-knowers out there, especially when good estimators such as FIP, xFIP, SIERA and DRA already exist. Including batted ball data could be useful, but it’s safe to wonder whether taking it at face value is the best approach.