Rays news: no actual, you know, NEWS, but Josh Tolentino is not afraid to go out on a limb with his Rays predictions at the Athletic. If you squint you can see the possibility of several Rays picking up end of the year honors — but Wander Franco won’t be one of them. ($)
We don’t often see “Tampa Bay Rays” and “Hall of Fame” on the same page, but here’s a nice profile of our own Carlos Peña as part of Jay Jaffe’s work on “one and done” players (e.g. those appearing once on the HOF ballot but failing to get enough votes to stay on for a second year).
Neil Solondz chats with Andy Freed and Erik Neander. No big announcements (Spoiler alert: “Our goal is to score more runs than the opposition” — Erik Neander) but any Neil interview is worth a listen.
Around the league: The Washington Nationals have been busy. Relief pitcher Daniel Hudson is reportedly finalizing a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals. He will earn $11 million base salary with the possibility of some bonuses. Eric Thames, veteran first baseman, has a one-year, $3 million deal with a mutual option for year two.
Japanese free agent Shogo Akiyama signed a three year deal with the Cincinnati Reds.
Move over, AL East; Michael Baumann thinks the American League Central will be the division to watch in 2020.
Walkie-talkies, maybe? Concern about sign stealing, especially in the wake of the Astros scandal, has led to discussions about less vulnerable ways for catchers and pitchers to communicate. Hannah Keyser shares some ideas.
Feel-good and baseball-related: Since major league news is hard to come by, let’s take a look at a great, local baseball-related program that has the endorsement of Rays Radio’s Dave Wills (and Tampa Bay Rays financial support):
You know I’m not a morning person, but I could not miss this! @buddy_baseball Grand Opening of their new field in Temple Terrace! Makes it easier for some kids with mobility issues to play baseball. @RaysRadio pic.twitter.com/Qgpj4GwSwP— Dave Wills (@davewills34) January 6, 2020
Buddy Baseball provides playing opportunities to special needs youth (and is also a great experience for the youth volunteers who help out). They have just opened a new, dedicated playing field in Temple Terrace.
Around Tampa Bay: And how about those Lightning! Seven wins in a row. Follow our sister site Raw Charge for in depth coverage.