Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: Will Rays eye familiar free-agent faces?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers fan questions about offseason
ST PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 17: Wilson Ramos #40 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a home run in the ninth inning during a game against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on April 17, 2018 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
October 17, 2018

Do you see the Rays re-signing Wilson Ramos this offseason? I believe the team is well-rounded but could become even better with an improvement in the catching department. A full year of Ramos would provide some extra power to an already potent lineup. -- Bryce P., TampaI don't see the

Do you see the Rays re-signing Wilson Ramos this offseason? I believe the team is well-rounded but could become even better with an improvement in the catching department. A full year of Ramos would provide some extra power to an already potent lineup.
-- Bryce P., Tampa

I don't see the Rays re-signing "The Buffalo." For starters, he'll likely be out of their price range, but more to the point, they've got three catchers they like in Jesus Sucre, Michael Perez and Nick Ciuffo. I'm more interested to see which of those three will be the odd man out by Opening Day.
Submit a question to the Rays Inbox
Hello, I was wondering what you thought [were] the most blatant issues the Rays need to address this offseason? I was thinking the back-end of the 'pen is the main problem -- I'm assuming Sergio Romo isn't coming back -- so having someone for the ninth and the eighth. If Jose Alvarado or someone else isn't going to fill the [role], finding a closer seems to be pretty important based on some of the games near the end of this season.
The offense seems pretty stable, assuming players will be consistent with how they performed this year, which I can imagine won't always be the case. Especially hoping people like Jake Bauers can have a full and more consistent year.
-- Fernando G., Hollister, Calif.

I would agree with you, the back-end of the bullpen is a concern. If they don't bring back Romo, which isn't necessarily a given, I think they'll use Alvarado and Diego Castillo to close games. "Opener" Ryne Stanek also seems to be a viable option, and perhaps Jaime Schultz.

As for the offense, I think the Rays have a chance to be better on offense next season since there weren't many players in the lineup who had career years in 2018. I believe Bauers has the right stuff to be a quality Major Leaguer, so I would expect his numbers to move more toward what they were in the Minor Leagues.
We did very well with our trades this year, especially for Austin Meadows. We also got a steal in getting Nick Solak from the Yankees. Any chance of him playing second base in 2019?
-- Michael B., Bonn, Germany

Solak indeed had a good year, hitting .282 with 19 home runs and 76 RBIs. But he did so for Double-A Montgomery. Thus, I think he'd be a longshot to be with the Rays at least until the second half. The Rays have a healthy problem at the Major League level with a host of quality middle infielders.
I've only been following baseball for a couple of years now so there might be something I'm missing, but why is Joey Wendle not being considered for [the American League] Rookie of the Year [Award]? He's been one of the most consistent hitters all year, and from what I've seen, he's the Rays best fielder in three different positions (second base, shortstop and third base).
-- Michael G., Darlington, England

Who says he's not in contention? I think he'll definitely get some votes, though I don't think he'll get enough to win the award. I've got to say, I certainly was impressed at how Wendle played the game. He ran hard to first base on every ball he hit, and he always seemed to be a tough out late in the game.
In your last Inbox, you suggested that James Shields returning to the Rays might be a good fit. I've got another one. How about bringing Nathan Eovaldi back?
-- Todd R., Tampa

I like the idea of Eovaldi returning to the Rays, and other years I might say such a suggestion would be ridiculous given that the Rays normally don't like to go to market for free-agent starting pitching. However, I'm not sure what the market's going to look like this offseason. Last year, everybody seemed to spend their money to fortify their bullpens. Will that trend continue, and will that trend hurt what starting pitchers get on the market? That could be the case given the fact that the starting pitcher's role seems to be getting minimized. Having said that, Eovaldi should be attractive to many suitors, so I don't believe the chances of the Rays signing him are likely.

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