In light of Bill Foster refusing to allow the Rays to look at sites outside Pinellas County, Bud Selig got his point across clearly. In the words of Marc Topkin, “Be part of the solution with the Rays rather than the problem.” Selig’s actual quote was of course a bit nicer.
“There’s work to be done there,” Selig said before World Series Game 3, “and he ought to try to be helpful and constructive in that process. That’s all I’ll say.”
But it’s clear that everyone involved has to be frustrated at this point after Foster completely brought stadium talks to a halt by refusing to compromise on the provision in the Tropicana Field that prevents the Rays from looking at possible stadium sites outside of Pinellas County. We can’t side with the Rays on every issue in this whole stadium saga, but to completely stop negotiations like Foster did will just make the stadium question drone on and on.
Outfielder Rich Thompson has denied his assignment to Triple-A and become a free agent. Thompson appeared in 23 games for the Rays this season primarily as a pinch-runner, going just 2 for 25 although he did steal 6 bases in 8 tries. It was his first time in the big leagues since 2004. Thompson did have a nice season between Triple-A in the Phillies and Rays organization, posting a .310/.376/.419 line with 29 stolen bases. Thompson has a chance to stick with another team, especially one in the National League, as a pinch-runner and 4th outfielder and good luck to him finding an opening in that type of role.
Topkin also noted that the Rays were, in a surprising note, baseball’s top spenders on the international free agent market, spending 3.8 million dollars, including over 3 million dollars on lefty Jose Castillo, right-hander Jose Mujica, and catcher David Rodriguez. The Rays so much that they’ll incur a $750,000 penalty and will have their budget for IFA’s be decreased for 2013. The Rays must have thought players like Castillo, Mujica, and Rodriguez were too good to pass up. I discussed Castillo here and Mujica and Rodriguez here, but the gist is that Castillo and Mujica are a pair of intriguing pitching prospects that stand out especially for impressive changeups, a pitch we know the Rays emphasize, while Rodriguez has nice potential both offensively and defensively at the catcher position.