Friedman outlines Rays' offseason plans

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Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman told Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times that the club plans to be active in adding at least one reliever and another catcher to use in tandem with Dioner Navarro.



“We have a list of guys on other teams we have an interest in, and a
list of free agents as well,” Friedman said. “And depending on how the
market evolves on both fronts, it will go a long way toward shaping our
thought process. … We feel like there are a lot of talented names out
there.”




The Rays probably won’t be able to
afford the higher-end relievers like Rafael Soriano or Mike Gonzalez,
however they could have interest in Danys Baez, according to Friedman.
After
missing all of 2008 following Tommy John
surgery, Baez posted a 4.02 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 59 appearances with
the Orioles in 2009. While his strikeout rate fell to a career-low of
5.02 K/9, his
career-high 60.9% groundball rate was among the league-leaders. Baez
previously pitched with the Rays from 2004-2005.




The Rays will likely have to turn to
trades for a catcher since the position is rather thin among the free
agents, however they appear open to continue talks with Gregg Zaun,
despite declining his $2 million option earlier this month.




Some of the juicier tidbits were
buried at the bottom, but probably for good reason. According to Smith, the Rangers and White Sox
have shown interest in B.J. Upton while the Mets and Braves have
inquired about Carl Crawford. The Rays exercised Crawford’s $10 million
option for 2010 earlier this month, and remain interested in discussing
a contract extension.
 


2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves