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Tampa Bay Rays: Reorganize Baseball Operations Department

By Althea Pashman
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Changes have started for the Tampa Bay Rays, as the baseball operations department is restructured, will now include a general manager.

The Tampa Bay Rays on Friday announced several changes within their baseball operations department, which has included two promotions and the restructuring of duties.

Erik Neander has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager and Chaim Bloom has been promoted to Senior Vice President. Matthew Silverman will remain in his position as President of Baseball Operations.

Also promoted was James Click to Vice President of Baseball Operations who will function as an assistant general manager managing many aspects of the department.

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Neander who will have the title as general manager will focus on the department’s player evaluation and player acquisition process, while Bloom along with Neander will directly oversee all functions within the baseball operations.

Both have worked together for the past 10 years in the baseball operations depart.

“Erik and Chaim are ideal partners to team up on the daily management of our department,” said Silverman.

The past 10 seasons Neander has been working in the Rays baseball operations department, including the last two years as Vice President of Baseball Operations. He joined the Rays as an intern in January 2007, earned a full-time position following that season. Prior to joining the Rays, he worked for Baseball Info Solutions.

Bloom has spent 12 seasons as part of the Rays baseball operations staff, including the last two years as Vice President of Baseball Operations. He joined the Rays as an intern in January 2005, following internships with the San Diego Padres and Major League Baseball, and joined the department full-time after the season.

In the restructuring of duties, Silverman will continue as President of Baseball Operations though he will be shifting his duties away from the day-to-day responsibilities and concentrate more towards the long-term vision and priorities.

“Going forward, the charge is the same with my focus shifting away from daily management and more towards our longer term vision and priorities,” said Silverman. “When it comes to key decisions, we will all work closely together.”

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Silverman’s primary duties as President of the Rays were to oversee the business side of the organization.

Although he was involved in significant decisions within the baseball operations department, all major player decisions were Andrew Friedman’s.

When Friedman left for Los Angeles after the 2014 season, Silverman took on Friedman’s role, as President of Baseball Operations.

However, Silverman gave up his duties as team president and Brian Auld a senior vice president at the time was promoted taking over all of Silverman’s duties.

With the restructuring Auld will continue in his role as team president.

During his tenure as president of baseball operations, Silverman made some pretty big trades, some not so good and others… Here are just a few of the trades:

December 2014, with Padres and Nationals

Traded to Padres: OF Wil Myers, C Ryan Hanigan and minor-leaguers LHP Jose Castillo, RHP Gerardo Reyes
Received: 1B Jake Bauers, RHP Joe Ross, C Rene Rivera, RHP Burch Smith, INF Trea Turner (technically a player to be named at the time)

Traded to Nats: RHP Joe Ross, Trea Turner
Received:  LHP Travis Ott, OF Steven Souza Jr.

January 2015, with Oakland A’s

Traded: INF Yunel Escobar, INF/OF Ben Zobrist
Received:  DH John Jaso, OF Boog Powell, SS Daniel Robertson

November 2015, with Mariners

Traded: RHP Nathan Karns, OF Boog Powell, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser
Received: RHP Danny Farquhar, SS Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison

December 2014: Traded INF Sean Rodriguez to Pirates for minor-league RHP Buddy Borden

July 2015: Traded OF David DeJesus to Angels for minor-league RHP Eduar Lopez

December 2015: Got C Hank Conger from Astros for cash

Since taking over in 2015, Silverman explained that he had envisioned this restructuring move.

"“This evolution is one that we envisioned two years ago. I’m proud to work together with Erik and Chaim and empower them to direct the operations of our department.”"

“Running a baseball operations department is an enormous challenge that requires a wide variety of talents, strong leadership and tight collaboration,” said Stuart Sternberg principal owner. “I have great confidence in Erik and Chaim’s ability to both lead our operations and to advance our methods and the scope of things we do. That is critical, especially in the face of an increasingly difficult competitive environment.”

The changes in my opinion are going to provide positive results as Neander and Bloom have always been key executives in the operations department.

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To have a general manager that will not only handle player evaluation and player acquisition process but also one with day-to-day responsibilities makes more sense than Silverman, who was more accustomed to long-term goals and priorities.

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