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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Watching division rivals get stronger is no fun

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Rays news

Our new MLB beat writer Adam Berry has jumped right in, looking at possible additions to the Rays rotation. To answer the question in his title, “could the Rays pursue a boost for their rotation” the answer is...YES they sure could.

Old friend alert: Daniel Robertson will join the Milwaukee Brewers:

Much stranger old friend alert: it’s possible one of my DRB colleagues covered this in a previous Catwalk post, but Richie Shaffer is a published author. Looks like his genre is science fiction:

Tyler Glasnow and Ryan Yarbrough make an appearance in this ZiPS-driven discussion of pitching over- and underachievers.

A look at Blake Hunt, a catching prospect who came to the Rays in the Blake Snell trade.

Stadium talk: somehow I’m glad I did not have to sit through the City Council meeting described here.($) The discussion was over approving a contract for a consultant that would help the mayor’s office evaluate the proposals they have received for the redevelopment of the Trop site, but it became a battle between members of Council and Mayor Kriseman over who will control the process. With Kriseman essentially a lame duck this year, expect more of the same moving forward.

Around the league

Free agency has become an arena that features just a handful of teams, writes Rob Arthur.($)

And on cue, the Red Sox add free agents Enrique Hernandez and Garrett Richards.

And on the subject of division rivals getting better, Yankees pulled off a big trade, getting Pittsburgh starting pitcher Jameson Taillon. Like Gerritt Cole, Taillon was a top Pirate draft pick a few years back. Yankees parted with several prospects.

But Yankees and Red Sox aside, this year ALL the players are going to the Padres:

Some observations from ESPN folks on the offseason thus far. Rays are the ones who have taken a pennant winning team and made it worse.

Does it feel like we’ve been seeing an awful lot of elite shortstop play in recent years? Well, it’s true, we have. ($)

Often those big free agent signings end up disappointing, but sometimes even expensive free agents turn out to be great deals. Here are the best signings, as per Mike Petriello.

For those of you who like getting into the weeds, Eno Sarris talks about the seams of the baseball, and how they affect pitching. ($)

Henry Aaron tributes

Baseball lost the legendary Hank Aaron on Friday. You will find many tributes to this man and his remarkable career. Here is Joe Posnanski writing last year in his countdown of MLB’s 100 greatest players ($) Here is Emma Baccelieri writing in Sports Illustrated.

This lengthy New York Times obituary does a great job of capturing Aaron’s contributions as a player and his personal journey. I well remember when Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth’s home run record, and reports about the open and less open hostility he faced from those who did not want to see a Black man capturing that honor.

Even our Neil Solondz has a memory:

A final thought: Aaron’s passing has renewed calls for the Atlanta Braves to consider renaming the team the Hammers, an homage to Aaron’s nickname. This would address growing concerns about teams appropriating Native American heritage while also honoring someone who was part of their organization for decades. And the Hammers would be a very cool name.