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Rays net comp Draft pick for Cobb

Coats competing for roster spot; Casali added on Minors deal; Yarbrough fans five in three frames
March 21, 2018

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Alex Cobb is going to the Orioles, and the Rays will come away with a compensation pick in this year's Draft.Cobb agreed to a four-year, $53 million deal with the Orioles on Tuesday. Because the Rays made Cobb a qualifying offer ($17.4 million) and he turned

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Alex Cobb is going to the Orioles, and the Rays will come away with a compensation pick in this year's Draft.
Cobb agreed to a four-year, $53 million deal with the Orioles on Tuesday. Because the Rays made Cobb a qualifying offer ($17.4 million) and he turned it down, the Rays will receive Draft pick compensation by virtue of losing him. They will benefit from the size of the reported contract: Because they also receive revenue sharing and the deal exceeded $50 million in overall value, that pick will come after the first round and before Competitive Balance Round A.
Because Baltimore is among the 16 clubs that receives revenue sharing, it will lose its third-highest pick in the Draft as a result of this deal.
2018 Draft order
The Rays will get the No. 31 overall pick because they had a worse record than the Royals in 2016; the teams had the same record last year, so the next determining factor is the previous year's records. That will bump Kansas City's pick down to No. 33, because Tampa Bay's pick at No. 32 is locked in -- it's a comp pick, since the Rays were unable to sign a pick last year.
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"Excited for [Cobb]," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Really excited for him. He meant a lot to the organization over his six years, the way he carried himself.
"It's funny, I always kidded with him. He's one of the more stubborn pitchers I've ever been around -- players, for that matter. He was stubborn this offseason. I was glad he got a good deal."
And his signing went well for the Rays.
"That's really good for us," Cash said.
Coats in competition for roster spot
Mostly, Jason Coats is thankful to be back playing again.
The 28-year-old outfielder made his Major League debut with the White Sox in 2016, appearing in 28 games. The Rays claimed him off waivers in January '17. Subsequently, they released and re-signed him to a Minor League contract. He then missed the entire '17 season following Tommy John surgery.

"That was tough," Coats said. "I'd never had any arm problems. Every year in pro ball, I've played 135-plus games. Never missed any time. So it was tough to get that news."
Fast forward to 2018, and Coats finds himself in competition for a spot as an extra outfielder and right-handed bat.
"I'm not really thinking about [the competition]," Coats said. "I'm just trying to go out there and show that I'm healthy and ready to play and take advantage of all the playing time I'm getting out there."
Cash has noted all spring that Coats has faced a difficult task by having to get reacquainted with the playing field after missing an entire season.
Coats says now he's "getting back in the swing of things."
"But early on, just missing that year, I felt good throwing the ball, hitting BP, but once the games got going, I think my nerves, I just got a little too amped up at times," Coats said. "And everything sped up. Now I've kind of realized I have to slow things down a little bit. Right now, I'm feeling a lot more comfortable at the plate. Seeing the ball better. I feel like I'm in a good spot now."
Also in competition for the extra spot are Brandon Snyder, Johnny Field and left-handed hitting Micah Johnson. The Rays could also bring in a player from outside the organization via trade or waiver wire.
Rays add Casali
The Rays brought back a familiar face Wednesday afternoon when they signed catcher Curt Casali to a Minor League deal.
Casali, who spent parts of four seasons with the Rays, was released by the Rangers on Wednesday and is expected to be in camp Thursday.
Casali spent most of the 2017 season at Triple-A Durham. He played in nine games for the Rays in '17, hitting .333 with a home run and three RBIs.
Tough call
With a decision on the Rays' final 25-man roster a week away, Cash was asked what his toughest decision will be.
"The bullpen," Cash answered. "We have a lot of good arms. We've seen a bunch of them through Spring Training. Some of them have already been optioned or reassigned. But it's going to get challenging or difficult. The longer that we wait, every camp does this. Sometimes those messages are tougher to deliver, because guys are getting closer to that Opening Day mark."

Camp battles
Ryan Yarbrough is competing for a bullpen spot, and he didn't do anything to hurt his cause Wednesday when he started in the Rays' 8-3 loss to the Red Sox and allowed a run on two hits and two walks while striking out five in three innings.
Cash has been impressed by the left-hander all spring.
"What he did last year in Triple-A is a big part of it," Cash said. "Strike-throwing ability. He comes in there and doesn't really seem to be affected by the environment, who's hitting. He goes with his game plan. He attacks with his game plan. As much as anybody, he might be our best strike-thrower.
"He's going to win getting people out. And he'll take some lumps throwing strikes. But we'd much rather have that than giving the free passes ... all over the place."
Injury update
Mallex Smith (right hamstring) played in a Minor League game on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the outfielder said he felt fine, but he did not play according to plan. He's scheduled to play Thursday.
Up next
The Rays will travel to Dunedin, Fla., on Thursday afternoon for a 1:07 p.m. ET contest against the Blue Jays. Follow live on Gameday.  Jake Faria will start for the Rays. Andrew Kittredge and Chaz Roe are also scheduled to pitch. Jaime Garcia gets the ball for Toronto.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005.