Rays Winter Meeting: Sternberg, Montreal, Baez

By Mat Germain

The Rays were all over MLB Network Radio yesterday as the Owner and Manager both made appearances on segments. They spoke roster, stadium, and relocation.

As soon as we heard Rays owner Stuart Sternberg was going to be on MLB Network radio, we knew we had to tune in and find out the latest information available on Rays issues. For a while, we thought the hosts may avoid the talk of relocation, but they came through and asked the pointed questions. Here’s a rundown of what he stated during the interview in point form:

  • On Andrew Friedman, Sternberg had nothing but great things to say and wished him all of the best in Los Angeles
  • On Joe Maddon, Sternberg would not even comment which was very telling
  • On the viability of keeping the team in Tampa Bay, he essentially pointed to the fact that he’s been dedicated to keeping the team in Tampa, but that the clock is now ticking louder than ever and that they can’t continue on this path much longer
  • On Montreal specifically, Sternberg avoided to answer directly, only stating that they hope to have a stadium resolution soon
  • Kevin Cash was also spoken of, and Sternberg was very complimentary. The man who was given all of the confidence in the world by ownership – in the form of a 5-year contract – is in charge for the foreseeable future in Tampa

Other Notes

The Javier Baez for pitching trade seems less likely now that the Cubs and Yankees completed a trade including Starlin Castro. It’s not absolutely dead, but it doesn’t seem likely. I tend to wonder if the Rays were focused on Baez the whole time but only Castro was on the table from the Cubs point of view, so that they could then sign ex-Ray Ben Zobrist. If the Rays do wind up pulling off a trade for Baez, word is Alex Cobb may be Chicago’s SP target, possibly combined with a reliever.

Zobrist signing with then Cubs makes perfect sense. He’s reunited with Joe Maddon, who knows how to use him best, and can help lead a young team in much the same way he did last year in Kansas City. It had to be enticing for him to join a push for a Championship for the Chicago Cubs, because if it happens, it may be the party of the Century.

Next: Rays Top 10 Best Starters in Franchise History

Kevin Kiermaier was in Nashville accepting the Esurance MLB Award for Best Defensive Player. There’s a great article about the win here and we congratulate Kevin on an outstanding 2015 performance! We’re happy he got recognized for his efforts, because he definitely earned it.