After splitting Friday afternoon’s contest against the Minnesota Twins, 5-5, the Tampa Bay Rays are back in action Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.
Ji-Man Choi and Willy Adames hit home runs on Friday. Choi’s came in the first inning off Twins ace Jose Berrios, while Adames demolished a DJ Baxendale pitch, sending a two-run blast to left field. It was Adames’ second homer of the Spring.
…I’m glad I got a good pitch to hit and I put the barrel on it and it went out.— Willy Adames
Bullpen candidate Jake Faria battled through a pair of frames and was charged with two runs on five hits while fanning one. Despite his line, Faria was pleased with his strike throwing, tossing 34 of 50 pitches in the zone (68% strike rate). Of the five hits he allowed, only two caught any air.
Honestly, I’m only upset about one pitch, the pitch to Tyler Austin. It was supposed to be more off the plate, more on the edges. It caught too much of the plate. Other than that, I’m not upset about how it went. … Everything felt good. Changeup … it felt good out of the hand, I just couldn’t really find a good sight to start it, so I wasn’t really that upset about it at all.— Jake Faria
You can hear the rest of Faria’s post-game interview below (courtesy of Rays Radio)
Per Juan Toribio (MLB.com), Faria and Jalen Beeks will likely compete for one slot in the bullpen, although other moving parts — or continued good performances during the Spring — could result in the team carrying both hurlers on Opening Day.
More pitching notes below.
The New What Next
Tampa Bay will play host to the Orioles on Saturday with Andrew Kittredge on the mound. He will pitch opposite of Dylan Bundy. Others scheduled to throw include Chaz Roe and non-roster invites Matt Krook, Dalton Moats, Ricardo Pinto, Colin Poche, Luis Santos, and Cole Sulser.
Rays 3/9/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Pham DH
- B. Lowe LF
- Diaz 1B
- Kiermaier CF
- Robertson 2B
- Adames SS
- Zunino C
- Brosseau 3B
- Kittredge RHP
— Matt Duffy (hamstring) was to be in action today for just the second time this Spring, however, he again has been scratched from the lineup. Duffy ran the bases on Friday for a third consecutive day without issue, yet he told Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) by the afternoon he was much sorer than he should have been for that type of exertion.
Duffy also said he will need to be back in games by this time next week in order to start the season on the active roster. For his part, Rays skipper Kevin Cash was not as concerned and said he hasn’t given any thought to Duffy not being available at the start of the season.
I personally am not overly concerned but I know he is and I’m frustrated for him because he’s worked so hard this offseason. I’m still optimistic.— Kevin Cash
— Cash also gave Anthony Banda, Jose De Leon, and Brent Honeywell — all of whom threw bullpens this morning — glowing reviews.
All three of them have worked real hard. With Banda, he is really so far ahead of schedule. We’re talking about tempering the expectation, the workload and all of that. But these guys have been great, they’ve really put the work in. I talked to Hark the other day, and he said nothing but compliments about how they’ve gone about their business.— Kevin Cash
Honeywell is expected to return in May, and could be called up at some point in June (or after).
— Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) writes that sometime between now and Sunday afternoon, barring a development that frankly would be unforeseen to both sides, the Rays will announce they have renewed Snell’s contract for this season. His expected salary in 2019? $573,700 — up just $15,500 over last season.
It’s disappointing. You want fair. But at the same time they don’t have to do it, so I understand the business side of it. If that’s what they want to do, that’s what they can do. Hopefully this pushes me. Arbitration will be the business side, and that’s what I’ll tell them. I think fair is fair. It all comes around in the end anyway. At the end of the day, you get what you put in. I’ll be motivated.— Blake Snell
Like other teams, though seemingly stricter, the Rays have a salary structure for players, like Snell, who don’t yet have the three years (or, for a small group, close) in the majors necessary to be eligible for arbitration.
Their specific calculations are private, based primarily on service time though with “a slight margin” to accommodate performance.
But the premise is clear: Pay them as little above the minimum as possible during these years by giving small incremental increases, knowing the balance of power tilts when the player gets to cash in via arbitration over the next three, then dramatically when they’re eligible for free agency after six. (Well, for some players anyway, but that’s another topic … )— Marc Topkin
In other words, the Rays again are being cheap.