As the offseason winds down to the start of Spring Training, a handful of Tampa Bay Rays players and prospects worked out at Tropicana Field on Friday. Among those on hand were right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Brent Honeywell, as well as southpaws Blake Snell and Ryan Yarbrough.
Unsurprisingly the subject of the Astros cheating scandal was discussed at the end of the workout, and the team made Snell and Glasnow. Both hurlers felt that Houston’s players, not just the front office and manager, also should have been held accountable for their participation in the sign-stealing scheme.
Snell told the media he considers the ploy to be more grievous than a player’s use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
There has to be more toward the players because they’re the ones that executed it. It’s just sad. All around, it’s just sad. … If you think about all the things that have happened with likes PEDs and stuff, they get punished. I feel like cheating is worse. Steroids, you got all big and buff but you still had to hit the ball, but you didn’t know what was coming.
When you know what’s coming, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. I feel like you have to do something about that.— Blake Snell
Glasnow mirrored Snell, adding there should be repercussions for all who were involved.
I just feel like it’s relatively lax for what was done and the advantages you could have when you know what pitches are coming.
It just seems like if you’re going to cheat and you’re involved as a player there should be some sort of repercussion. I’ve heard the investigation kind of still going on, but I don’t know.— Tyler Glasnow
Of course, Glasnow has reason to feel chippy, after all, he was ambushed in a four-run first inning in Game 5 of the 2019 AL Division Series — a frame in which nefarious intent was hinted at. Yet the jury is still out as to whether the Astros continued their sign-stealing ploy after the 2017 season. Glasnow conceded that he could have been tipping his pitches, primarily by holding his glove differently based on whether he was throwing a fastball or curve, making it easy for the Astros to know what was coming.
Sometimes I could go and be like, ‘Wow, that looks like I’m tipping,’ but I could probably do that for all my starts in a season. (It) just depends on what they could pick up and what they did pick up. Another possibility is they didn’t have anything and they just hit me well. I can sit in my head and think about all the possibilities of what happened, but I’ve moved on.— Tyler Glasnow
Beyond the news of the day, there is a general feeling of excitement going into Spring Training. Prior to the workout Friday, Snell — who worked on strengthening the last few months following a disappointing 2019 campaign — told Josh Tolentino (The Athletic, paid link) he has his sights fully set on a comeback. This year, he’s aiming to use the extra four weeks to train with club staffers at Tropicana Field and get his body into pristine shape.
I feel like I had to do this. I think I owe it to myself. Last year wasn’t me with the injury and everything. I want to get my body right, and mentally I just want to be ready for the start of the season. I’m committed to the Rays and I want to be here for a long time, so I’ve got to succeed.— Blake Snell
Pitching coach Kyle Snyder touched on Snell’s enthusiasm, saying that he feels the left-hander is as motivated as he’s seen him.
According to Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), Snyder also said he has been happy to see Brent Honeywell play catch the last two weeks. Still a top 100 prospect, Honeywell missed 2018 due to Tommy John surgery and then last season after suffering a broken bone in his throwing arm during his rehab.
Honeywell, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery (as well as an extenuating elbow issue), is appreciative of all the people who have helped get him back on the field. He told reporters he’s been knocking the rust off.
He also made it known that his screwball is here to stay.
I throw a screwball and people think it’s a bad thing for my arm. Well, I also throw 96 mph. That’s tough, too. I’m going to continue to throw the screwball. Because more weapons, more ammunition, more ways to get guys out.— Brent Honeywell
Although Honeywell is expected to see big league action at some point in the upcoming season, don’t expect to see him pitch during any Spring Training games; the team favors a slow rehab process.
Rays pitchers and catchers officially report to camp, in Port Charlotte, on February 12th, while the full squad is scheduled to begin workouts six days later.