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Rays land Ramos, talk other deals at Meetings

MLB.com @wwchastain

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rays have not been a team to make headlines at the Winter Meetings. However, they did grab the spotlight when news broke that they had agreed to terms with catcher Wilson Ramos on a two-year deal, which they made official on Monday.

Ramos hot topic at Cash's media session

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rays have not been a team to make headlines at the Winter Meetings. However, they did grab the spotlight when news broke that they had agreed to terms with catcher Wilson Ramos on a two-year deal, which they made official on Monday.

Ramos hot topic at Cash's media session

Ramos' deal is for $12.5 million and includes playing time incentives to make up to $18.25 million over the two years -- provided he passes a physical.

Hot Stove Tracker

Meanwhile, the Rays continued to field offers from teams hoping to deep into their deep pool of starting pitchers.

Chris Archer dominated those rumors, but others involved starters Drew Smyly, Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi.

"I would say from the volume of conversations, it was definitely active," said senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom. "There are a lot of possibilities. It's hard to handicap timing and know where all of this is going to end up. Obviously, we have a number of talented starting pitchers in our rotation. I think we had a lot of conversation pretty much on all of them."

Video: Cash on interest shown in Rays' starting pitchers

Despite all the trade talk, the Rays did not push the button on any trades while at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. That doesn't mean they won't get active once their contingent returns to St. Petersburg.

"Oftentimes, we find that being patient helps us," Bloom said. "And we're able to pick up players later in the offseason that we might not have been able to access earlier. But sometimes there could be an opportunity that's only there for a certain period of time. So I think that's a lot of what we're trying to weigh. And when we talk about weighing options, a lot of that is timing. And when do you want to jump on different possibilities."

Deals done
Entering the postseason, Tampa Bay's top priority was to upgrade its catching situation. Signing Ramos to a two-year deal addressed that need in a big way.

Ramos, 29, is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee sustained Sept. 26, making the physical all the more important.

Video: Rays reportedly sign Ramos to two-year contract

Ramos was a first-time All-Star for the Nationals in 2016 before suffering the season-ending injury. He underwent surgery on Oct. 14, after which the Nationals set a recovery timetable of six to eight months. That would place Ramos' potential return somewhere from mid-April to mid-June.

Goals accomplished
Leaving the Winter Meetings with a premium catcher brought a wave of excitement to the organization. The front office also had plenty of conversations, which could set in place deals later in the offseason that address other needs.

Unfinished business
The Rays still hope to fortify their roster with additions in the outfield and bullpen to improve the competition for jobs in Spring Training.

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash told reporters he'd like to see a speedy outfielder coming into the fold, and one who could serve as a solid backup to Kevin Kiermaier in center field.

Video: Rays looking for power-hitting outfielder, prospects

Rays senior vice president of baseball operations/general manager Eric Neader wasn't quite as specific.

"Our goal is to win by one," Neander said. "If it means getting someone who is more offensive-oriented and is more of that type of profile, if that opportunity is there we'll jump on it. If it's someone that's more balanced or defensive-oriented, then we'll be open to that as well.

"I think with the group we have, it doesn't require us to get a certain type of skill set. It's more about upgrading on one side of the ball and making sure we don't lose too much on the other."

Rule 5 Draft activity
No Rays were selected during the Major League phase of the Draft, and they lost just one player during the Triple-A phase. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay used the fourth pick of the Major League phase to select right-hander Kevin Gadea from Seattle, then followed with two selections during the Triple-A phase.

In Rule 5 Draft, Rays take righty Gadea from M's

Gadea stands 6-foot-5, weighs 188 pounds and was 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 15 Minor League appearances in 2016, of which eight were starts. In 68 2/3 innings, he struck out 95 while walking just 14. According to director of baseball development Peter Bendix, Gadea will have a shot at becoming a member of their bullpen this season.

The Rays also selected right-handers Ty Hensley, 23, and Jairo Munoz, 25, from the Yankees and Phillies, respectively.

Right-hander Jared Mortensen was the only player the Rays lost Thursday. The Astros selected the 28-year-old right-hander off Double-A Montgomery's roster in the Triple-A phase of the Draft.

Team's bottom line
"I think generally speaking, we feel like we have a team that's fairly deep and flexible," Neander said. "I don't think in any one particular area where we're really deficient in a sense, so with that, the upgrades become to a higher tier to find things that you're really comfortable with, and those are much more difficult to identify and explore."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays