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With Click gone, Rays again promote from within

@juanctoribio
February 5, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG -- With James Click leaving the Rays to become the Astros' new general manager, the Rays decided to promote from within for the second time this offseason. When Chaim Bloom left to become the Red Sox’s chief baseball officer, general manager Erik Neander decided to give Carlos Rodriguez,

ST. PETERSBURG -- With James Click leaving the Rays to become the Astros' new general manager, the Rays decided to promote from within for the second time this offseason.

When Chaim Bloom left to become the Red Sox’s chief baseball officer, general manager Erik Neander decided to give Carlos Rodriguez, Peter Bendix and Click added responsibilities in order to replace Bloom.

Now that Click is gone, the Rays continue to follow the same approach, promoting former Indians pitcher Jeremy Sowers to manager of Major League operations and Sammi Bireley to manager of baseball administration.

Also of note, Bendix will now supervise the research & development department, which was one of Click’s responsibilities with the organization.

“We wish James and his family well, and we thank him for his 15 years of great work with our organization,” Rays majority owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement. “The departure of another talented senior Rays executive is difficult. That difficulty is compounded by the timing of the departure, only days from the opening of Spring Training.”

Sowers played for the Indians from 2006-09 before working at the coordinator level in operations and compiling advanced scouting reports. Bireley started with the Rays in ticket sales in '13 and has been an administration coordinator since October '18.

Some more shuffling in the front office, which happened before Click’s departure, includes Kevin Ibach being promoted to senior director of pro personnel and pro scouting. Rob Metzler has also been promoted to senior director of amateur scouting.

While Click’s departure this close to Spring Training is certainly a blow to the Rays, the organization is confident in the people replacing him and the overall depth in the front office.

“A large number of former Rays staffers now populate senior team positions across the league,” Sternberg said. “We have great organizational leadership, strong faith in our ability to regenerate, and we have supreme confidence in the men and women who will be stepping up into their newfound opportunities and responsibilities.

“That is the Rays way,” Sternberd added. “It is who we are, it is what we do.”

Pitchers and catchers report to the Rays’ Spring Training facility in Port Charlotte, Fla., next Wednesday. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 18.

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.