Craig Calcaterra

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The Rays will begin interviewing managerial finalists today


Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays’ managerial search — which has played out publicly and at length, akin to a game show or something, enters the lightning round today, as the teal begins final interviews with their final three candidates.

The candidates: Kevin Cash, Raul Ibanez and Don Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu goes first because he won the coin toss back stage and chose not to defer. Or whatever.

The Rays are believed to want a manager in place before the Winter Meetings. Everyone flies to San Diego for that on Sunday, so there should be news this week.

The Braves could offer Kris Medlen a two-year deal

kris medlen getty

Kris Medlen is arbitration eligible and could make close to six million bucks if he goes through the process. He’s just coming off of his second Tommy John surgery, however, and teams generally don’t like to give $6 million deals to injury risks like that. Which makes him a good candidate to be non-tendered.

But, Mark Bowman of reports that the Braves may try to keep Medlen in the fold all the same, just at a lower price:

Some security for Medlen, some cost savings for the Braves and, of course, the chance to have Medlen pitch for them if he makes a successful comeback.

If Medlen is not non-tendered today, you have to figure it means that the Braves are optimistic of working out a deal.

Wanna buy Jonathan Papelbon’s condo?

Papelbon Crotch

Jonathan Papelbon still plays for the Phillies. But they are trying to move him, and he apparently thinks he’s gonna be moved, because he has placed his luxury condo up for sale. Go see the details including multiple photos and the floor plan here.

It’s like a lot of baseball player places: some designer put it together and you wonder how anyone actually lives in it. Especially in this case. It’s almost 100% white surfaces and furniture.

Because let’s face it: if you had to pick one major league baseball player who would NOT use coasters and who would wipe orange Cheetoh dust-covered hands on everything, you know it’d be Paps.

The non-tender deadline is midnight tonight

Watchmen Clock

The non-tender deadline is today. What’s that, you ask?

By midnight tonight teams have to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. If they do, the team retains control over the player. At that point, the team and the player can negotiate salary for 2015 and, if they can’t come to an agreement over that (i.e. an agreement usually referred to as “avoiding arbitration”) they will proceed to submit proposed salaries to one another and have a salary arbitration early in the spring.

If, on the other hand, the team non-tenders a player, that player immediately becomes a free agent. Any team which signs him retains the same number of years of control over him that his old team had. Meaning that, if he still has arbitration years left, he goes through the process again. Here are all the players who got non-tendered last year.

Basically, the tender/non-tender calculus is whether or not the team thinks the guy is worth the low end of what he might receive in arbitration. Or, put differently, if the guy isn’t worth what he made in 2014, he’s probably going to be non-tendered. Or if he’s an injury question mark. Not that there are a lot of those guys, as most arbitration-eligible players are young and have just recently made the minimum or something close to it.

So, that’s the non-tender thing. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

The Braves and Astros discussed an Evan Gattis trade . . . but there was a catch

Gattis Getty

Ken Rosenthal reports that, over the summer, the Braves and Astros discussed a trade involving Evan Gattis for a package that could include Dexter Fowler and either a pitcher or catcher Carlos Corporan. But, though the talks “had legs,” they didn’t result in anything because the Braves had one request to go along with it:

The Astros first began targeting Evan Gattis last summer. And when they asked about Gattis again early in the offseason, the Braves came back with an interesting response, according to major-league sources:

Maybe, if you take B.J. Upton, too.

And the $46.5 million he is owed. The Astros understandably balked, but Rosenthal says that they are still interested in Gattis, so perhaps everyone can revisit this again soon.

In other news, the Braves sent me an email with Cyber Monday offers for their team store yesterday. I was gonna get a sweet Freddie Freeman shirsey at 25% off, but they insisted I take a B.J. Upton one at full price too . . .