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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Big trades, more rumors, and will Spring Training start this month?

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Colorado Rockies v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Rays News

Around the League

  • Rockies fans, we feel for you: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Team has face-of-the-franchise third baseman who has been their best player for years. They’ve signed him to a long-term contract and still owe him a good chunk of money moving forward. So they send said franchise player, plus some cash, to another team for a meh group of prospects.

On behalf of Rays fans, and perhaps key members of the Rays front office, thank you Colorado Rockies for trading Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for a handful of not-top prospects...and even sending along $50M to the Cardinals to take him off your hands. Arenado is owed $199,000 over the next 6 years. He has several opt-outs but it’s hard to imagine opting out of that contract! As of this writing they were finalizing a return of 4-5 prospects, none ranked at the top of the St. Louis system.

So now the Rockies can get mocked by baseball commentators.

  • Pitchers and catchers report in just over two weeks — or do they? Major league camps are scheduled to open in mid-February, but MLB would still like to put that off a bit. They want to push everything back a month, and play a bit later into the Fall (154 games). Players will respond this week.
  • Baseball from an agent’s perspective: Other than Scott Boras, perhaps, agents are not particularly high profile for most fans. They are, however, people who have a unique close-up look at the game: they have to stay abreast of the analytics, the potential changes to the CBA, as well as the other nonquantifiable things their clients might be talking about. As a result it is interesting to get their views on a range of topics. So several Athletic reporters polled them on a bunch of issues, part 1 and part 2. Definitely worth a read if you have a subscription ($). Some takeaways: for players with multiple suitors, the Blue Jays are often at the bottom of the list — nothing wrong with the team but perhaps the need to cross borders is a disincentive. Also interesting thoughts on how to prevent tanking.

For a Rays connection, agents were asked about worst places to play, and one had this to say:

“Tampa Bay. If I’m a big-leaguer, that’s the worst stadium to go play in, the worst (surrounding) area (around the ballpark). That’s pretty shitty to me. But now as an agent, prospect-wise, I would love for my players to be drafted by Tampa Bay. They’re going to develop them and they’re going to get there quickly.”

Not sure whether this person has been to St. Pete in the past five years (area surrounding the stadium is basically a ton of parking but then you get to Central Ave which is not at all terrible — have they seen the area around Citifield, as a contrasting example?) But I won’t defend the stadium.