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Prospect trio dark horses for Rays' roster

Adames, Honeywell, Bauers competing for spots at camp
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Grapefruit League action begins for the Rays on Friday, and amid the roster fluctuation of the past week, several camp dark horses will be angling for an Opening Day spot. Watching that group compete for jobs will be one of this spring's pleasures.

The Rays open with split-squad action, hosting the Pirates at Charlotte Sports Park Complex while another collection of players will travel to Sarasota, Fla., to play the Orioles. Both games will begin at 1:05 p.m. ET.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Grapefruit League action begins for the Rays on Friday, and amid the roster fluctuation of the past week, several camp dark horses will be angling for an Opening Day spot. Watching that group compete for jobs will be one of this spring's pleasures.

The Rays open with split-squad action, hosting the Pirates at Charlotte Sports Park Complex while another collection of players will travel to Sarasota, Fla., to play the Orioles. Both games will begin at 1:05 p.m. ET.

-- Rays Spring Training info

This year's dark horses are among the top prospects in the Rays' organization are Willy Adames, Brent Honeywell and Jake Bauers.

While they are indeed the future of the organization, the business of baseball casts this group as dark horses, rather than favorites to win jobs.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The Rays usually wait a couple of months into the season to bring up prospects due to business and baseball reasons, specifically the issue of service time and starting arbitration-eligibility clocks. However, even if a prospect is close or ready, the Rays like the idea of starting them in the Minor Leagues at the beginning of the season. That way they can have a little success behind them before they are promoted to The Show to take on Major League competition.

What would have to change for this trio to make the team? Let's take a look.

Adames is the shortstop of the future, and the Rays have stated that he would drive the train concerning his ETA in the Major Leagues. For Adames to make the team out of Spring Training, starting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria would have to either get injured or traded. Even then, the Rays might shift Matt Duffy from third to shortstop, or use Daniel Robertson at the position. The other part of the equation is that Adames needs to show improvement on making the routine plays, or to establish a higher level of consistency in the field.

Farm director Mitch Lukevics calls Honeywell the most competitive player in the organization. While that might be true, any competitor has to be given a chance to compete and given the depth of starting pitchers -- even after the trade of Odorizzi -- it's going to be difficult for a slot to open up that would force the Rays to consider passing up the business side of the equation. In addition, the Rays will use a four-man rotation until May. That rotation will include Chris Archer, Jake Faria, Blake Snell and Nathan Eovaldi.

Video: Outlook: Honeywell soon to be a part of Rays rotation

Matt Andriese has been shifted from the rotation to the bullpen, so there's always the chance that once the Rays do move back to a five-man rotation, enough time will have passed that Honeywell will be called up.

Finally, there's Bauers. Flashback to last spring when he caught everybody's attention with his bat. Not only with power, but with his plate discipline as well. However, any speculation about Bauers becoming the Rays' first baseman got silenced when C.J. Cron came to the Rays from the Angels. Then again, Cron does hit right-handed. The Rays will begin the season with the left-handed-hitting Brad Miller seeing time at first, second and DH. If Miller were to get injured or traded, Bauers would be the guy.

Video: Top Prospects: Jake Bauers, 1B, Rays

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames, Jake Bauers, Brent Honeywell

Gomez set to join Rays on one-year deal

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays wasted little time in addressing their void in right field, agreeing with Carlos Gomez on an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal, sources tell MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The Rays have not confirmed the report

A day after trading Steven Souza Jr. and four days after trading Jake Odorizzi and designating 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, the Rays were in a buying mood on Wednesday. Gomez will provide an intriguing power-speed combination to an outfield corner.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays wasted little time in addressing their void in right field, agreeing with Carlos Gomez on an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal, sources tell MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The Rays have not confirmed the report

A day after trading Steven Souza Jr. and four days after trading Jake Odorizzi and designating 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, the Rays were in a buying mood on Wednesday. Gomez will provide an intriguing power-speed combination to an outfield corner.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

Following Tuesday night's Souza trade, Rays GM Erik Neander said that the Odorizzi and Dickerson moves had been motivated by the team having depth at their respective positions, but Neander acknowledged that no such depth existed in right field. Thus, the Rays would be in the market for a right fielder.

Gomez looks like the perfect fit.

Tweet from @RealCarlosGomez: ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? New chapter, same hustle! #TheHustleNeverStops let's get it! #Blessed pic.twitter.com/d13n1oQe1z

The right-handed-hitting Gomez, 32, slashed .255/.340/.462 for the Rangers, with 17 home runs and 13 stolen bases while manning center field in 2017.

Gomez has spent the bulk of his Major League career as a center fielder, but that won't be the case with the Rays, who have American League Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder Kevin Kiermaier locking down the position. Clearly, right field looks to be Gomez's destination, with veteran Denard Span and Mallex Smith left to compete for the job in left field.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Gomez is the only player to accrue at least 12 home runs and 12 steals in each of the last six seasons. However, he has played 150 games or more in a season just once in his career and has averaged 112 games per season since 2015.

The Rays have been able to cut significant salary in the last week with their series of moves. Gone are Odorizzi ($6.3 million), Dickerson ($5.95 million) and Souza ($3.55 million), with cheaper replacements in Gomez and C.J. Cron ($2.3 million).

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

While he can no longer match his heyday production of 20-plus homers and roughly 35 steals, Gomez still warrants attention in deep mixed leagues after averaging 15 homers and 15.5 steals across the past two seasons. With the addition of the 32-year-old Gomez to a rapidly changing Rays roster, the speedy Smith will likely move to a reserve role and no longer merits a draft pick in mixed formats.

Video: Zinkie on 2018 Gomez fantasy impact with move to Rays

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Carlos Gomez

Top 20 players who will shape AL East race

MLB.com @williamfleitch

If you can believe it, Opening Day is only five weeks away, and we're previewing each division every Wednesday. Baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team sport, so, thus, we'll be previewing each division by counting down the 20 most pivotal players in the division. These aren't necessarily the best players. They're just the ones whose 2018 performance will be most vital to their teams' success this season, and in seasons moving forward. To keep it fair, we can only pick four players from each team.

Today: The American League East. Tell me what you think -- not just about what you think of this list, but also whom I should not miss when I do the National League West next week -- at will.leitch@mlb.com.

If you can believe it, Opening Day is only five weeks away, and we're previewing each division every Wednesday. Baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team sport, so, thus, we'll be previewing each division by counting down the 20 most pivotal players in the division. These aren't necessarily the best players. They're just the ones whose 2018 performance will be most vital to their teams' success this season, and in seasons moving forward. To keep it fair, we can only pick four players from each team.

Today: The American League East. Tell me what you think -- not just about what you think of this list, but also whom I should not miss when I do the National League West next week -- at will.leitch@mlb.com.

Previously: NL Central

20. Christian Arroyo, Tampa Bay Rays
Arroyo is an extremely promising third-base prospect who already has 135 at-bats in the Majors and is ranked No. 81 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects. I hope Arroyo can remember all those things when Rays fans look over at third base and, for the first time in a decade, see someone other than Evan Longoria there. Not just that, but Longoria is saying that he "feels bad for the Rays' fanbase." So, you know, good luck, kid.

19. Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles
He's not going to be back for a few months, but by the time he gets back, the Orioles will have a pretty solid idea of whether they're coming or going. Either they're going to need Britton to come back and work himself back into Britton-shape because they're fighting for an American League Wild Card spot, or they'll need him to come back because they're selling hard at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Video: Must C Combo: Kiermaier flashes leather, power bat

18. Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays
You can tell pretty well what kind of baseball fan you're talking to when you discuss Kiermaier. Your FanGraphs obsessive thinks he's one of the best, and certainly one of the most underrated, players in the game. Your usual baseball-card-stat fan is totally baffled at what all the fuss is about.

17. Randal Grichuk, Toronto Blue Jays
Did the Blue Jays just get themselves a cost-controlled power bat, one who can play center field, on the cheap? After trading for Marcell Ozuna, the Cardinals didn't have a place for Grichuk, so they sent him to Toronto for reliever Dominic Leone, and Grichuk might be exactly the right fielder the Blue Jays were searching for. He strikes out way too much, and he's probably never going to be a consistent on-base threat, but he's under club control through 2020, plays the outfield like a dream, and if you make a mistake pitch to him, he will pulverize it.

16. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are making a last-ditch, all-in mad dash in the AL East this year, and while some might question the wisdom of such a maneuver, heck, the world was never made worse by people doing everything they can to win. (Note: The world is in fact always made worse this way.) If the O's are going to hang in, they're going to need all the offensive firepower they can muster, so it might be handy if the guy they still owe $127 million to could start launching bombs again.

15. Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays
You can forgive Rays fans for growing a bit exhausted with the "when our stud prospects get here, it's gonna be a different story, you'll see!" game, but the waiting game for Adames, the No. 22 prospect in the game according to MLB Pipeline, may still be worth it. Not only does Adames have all the tools, he's one of those makeup machines, the instant team leader everyone is always looking for, particularly out of the shortstop position.

14. Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
Gausman is the next in a long line of talented Orioles starters to never quite put it together in Baltimore, and there is always the fear he will leave town and immediately turn into Jake Arrieta. Gausman was healthy all of last season, which means he's ostensibly Baltimore's ace, but his skills have never quite translated into top-tier success. Which means the rest of baseball is ready to buy low.

13. Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox
When the Red Sox signed Porcello to a four-year contract extension before the 2015 season, they didn't think they were getting an AL Cy Young Award winner, any more than they thought they were signing a bust. The first two years of the deal, they've gotten both. Porcello led the Majors in wins in 2016, and losses in '17; that's pretty difficult to do. Somewhere in the middle would be just fine for Boston, particularly now that he's just a fourth starter.

Video: Stroman, Gibbons on Stroman losing arbitration

12. Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
For all the talk of Stroman's unpleasant arbitration experience, there isn't much evidence that contentious arbitrations cause any sort of damage, short or long term. Good thing, because despite whatever they said in that room to Stroman, the Blue Jays desperately need Stroman to keep pitching like the ace he nearly was in 2017. It's almost impossible to see a way for the Blue Jays to contend without Stroman at least duplicating his '17 season.

Tweet from @MStrooo6: Just being real. Not mad at all. I???????????????????????????m aware of the business. Just opens your eyes going through the arbitration process. Second time going through it. Still love my team and the entire country of Canada. More upset that I had to fly to AZ and miss my Monday workout. Lol

11. Greg Bird, New York Yankees
It's funny to think that the young Yankees player everyone was excited about heading into 2017 wasn't Judge: It was Bird. After his horrendous start, he came on late, and the Yanks felt comfortable enough with him that they avoided any first-base free agent temptations. If Bird is fully locked and loaded, this lineup is even more terrifying that it already is. And if not: The Yankees will not lack for options.

* * * * *

Halftime break! AL East mascots, ranked!

1. The Oriole Bird
The name could use some work, but otherwise, the perfect Oriole color scheme makes for a perfect baseball bird mascot. He's such a pretty bird that we'll ignore that he's naked. (The other bird in the division is far more modest.)

2. Raymond Ray
Discovered by fishermen who noticed he was drawn to the boat by the smell of hot dogs, Raymond Ray looks a little like a character in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

3. Ace
Blue Jays are actually quite aggressive birds, but Ace is pretty chill, all told. He does get points for being an improvement on the old BJ Birdy, who looked insane and had a redundant name.

4. Wally the Green Monster
All mascots are for kids, but I might humbly submit that Wally is maybe a little too scary for kids.

5. Unknown Yankees mascot
The Yankees famously do not have a mascot, though in a pinch, Justice Sonia Sotomayor would make a pretty great one.

Gif: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Judge's Chambers

* * * * *

10. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
Tanaka's peripheral numbers suggest that if he's not an ace, he's No. 2-starter material at least. He has a terrific K/BB ratio (the best on the team), and his season ERA was inflated by a dreadful May (8.42 ERA). Tanaka at his worst is still a rotation mainstay, and he is the one guy in the rotation who should be better but, in 2017, just wasn't.

9. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
In the 2013 World Series, when most of us were first seeing Bogaerts, it appeared we were looking at the next great superstar. It hasn't worked out that way, with Bogaerts never becoming that superstar -- and even taking a big step back in 2017, dropping to only 10 homers and losing 21 points in batting average. He's still only 25 years old, though, and the talent is still all there. If this is Bogaerts' breakout season, the Red Sox's lineup could be scarier than you think.

8. Roberto Osuna, Toronto Blue Jays
What was up with Osuna last year? He struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings. Osuna dropped his walk rate for the third straight year. He gave up only three homers in 64 innings pitched. Osuna had a 0.859 WHIP. Those numbers look totally dominant, right? So how in the world did Osuna blow 10 saves? If the results match the skills, the Blue Jays will have the ninth inning on lockdown.

7. Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
Essentially the last man standing at this point, right? Now that the Rays' rebuild seems imminent, there's not much reason to keep Archer around, particularly when there isn't a team in baseball (save for Tampa Bay, apparently!) who couldn't use a cost-controlled ace who's also charismatic and fun. If the Rays want to fully restock their farm system, Archer and closer Alex Colome are surely the next (and maybe last) to go.

6. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
One of the many enticing aspects of trading for Machado in the offseason -- as many, many teams tried to do -- was the sense that he's going to erupt in this, his contract year. Machado had an unfortunate 2017, but he still had his moments, and he clearly has talent to burn everywhere. He'll be at shortstop this year and eager to impress potential free-agent suitors. How long Machado is in Baltimore may depend on how long the Orioles can hang around the race; the minute those leaks trickle out about "the O's are listening to offers on Machado," this is instantly the biggest story in the sport.

5. J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
All right, so now that he's finally here, now what? The long, slow, pained offseason seduction between the Red Sox and Martinez finally consummated this week, at a reasonable price for Boston and, of course, a fortune for Martinez. But there is an extended, sordid history of expensive free agents coming into Fenway Park and being eaten alive almost immediately; remember, the Red Sox will still be paying Pablo Sandoval $18.5 million next season. Martinez is no Sandoval, but Red Sox fans have a way of eyeing a new guy warily for a while when he shows up in town. The upside is obviously huge, but remember: They were mocking poor Jack Clark in The Town 20 years after he signed.

Video: Ian Browne discusses J.D. Martinez signing

4. David Price, Boston Red Sox
Speaking of big, expensive Red Sox free agents whom the town quickly turned on. Price is only two years into his $217 million deal, and he spent most of his 2017 either in the bullpen, hurt, feuding with Dennis Eckersley or being hissed at by Beantown faithful. Just five years to go! Price apparently isn't too sore about his time in Boston so far; he was one of the main ambassadors selling Martinez on the place. But he has an opt-out clause after this season if he wants to use it, but that would require exactly the sort of year the Red Sox were paying him for in the first place.

3. Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
A little like Archer and Machado, but Donaldson's far more fascinating than those two. Unlike them, he:

A: Is beloved by the fan base and actively interested in signing an extension;
B: Has nevertheless been unable to come to terms on one;
C: Is on a team that has a chance to contend for an AL Wild Card this year;
D: Could still be dealt, even through gritted teeth, at the non-waiver Trade Deadline;

What are the Blue Jays going to do with Donaldson? Merely the whole next decade of the franchise might rely on the answer.

1 and 1a, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
It is a big story that one of these massive humans exist. It's a bigger story that they both exist. It's an even bigger story that they're on the same team. Now add to the mix that their team is the Yankees -- a club that seemed to have lost its swagger but now has it back a thousandfold. In retrospect, it seems inevitable that these two wooly mammoths are in the same lineup, in the Bronx, secured now to spend their most formidable years together. They're the primary reasons to hate the Yanks again, which, of course, means the Yankees are, once again and at last, completely unmissable. They're the biggest story in baseball this year, and one of the biggest stories in sports. Who doesn't want to see what happens here? I cannot wait.

Video: Judge, Stanton could lead Yanks to back-to-back mark

* * * * *

We finish this preview, as we will with all of them, with predictions. I apologize in advance because these predictions are guaranteed to be correct and thus I'm a little worried I'm spoiling the season for you.

New York Yankees: 92-70
Boston Red Sox: 90-72
Toronto Blue Jays: 82-80
Baltimore Orioles: 74-88
Tampa Bay Rays: 69-93

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Rays even more motivated after Souza trade

Archer: 'As a group in this room, we're not going to cave'
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Clearly, many in the Rays' clubhouse were disappointed to see Steven Souza Jr. get traded, but there also seemed to be an growing sense of resolve percolating as well.

"Adversity comes at all of us from many different directions, and we're being tested right now," Kevin Kiermaier said. "And now we'll see who has that 'dog' in them to go out there and do what we do this year. ... We're going to be tested and we're going to see who's here to play and who's not."

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Clearly, many in the Rays' clubhouse were disappointed to see Steven Souza Jr. get traded, but there also seemed to be an growing sense of resolve percolating as well.

"Adversity comes at all of us from many different directions, and we're being tested right now," Kevin Kiermaier said. "And now we'll see who has that 'dog' in them to go out there and do what we do this year. ... We're going to be tested and we're going to see who's here to play and who's not."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

On Tuesday, the Rays traded Souza to the D-backs as part of a three-team deal that returned two prospects and two players to be named.

The Rays received left-hander Anthony Banda, who was the D-backs' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, along with second baseman Nick Solak, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The Yankees received utility man Brandon Drury from the D-backs and sent Minor League right-hander Taylor Widener to Arizona.

Chris Archer admitted that it was "hard to have thoughts right now."

"A lot has happened in the last seven days," Archer said. "Actually, the entire offseason. But a lot has happened the last seven days. I'm just trying to digest it. It's hard to know what we got from the trade. What that's going to pan out to be. I'm still digesting."

The Souza trade followed a busy weekend that saw the Rays acquire first baseman C.J. Cron in a trade with the Angels, receive shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios from the Twins for right-hander Jake Odorizzi and designate left fielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

In December, the Rays traded third baseman Evan Longoria to the Giants, receiving infielder Christian Arroyo, outfielder Denard Span and a pair of Minor Leaguers in return.

Video: Cash and Kiermaier discuss roster turnover

"I'll say it again, baseball's a game where anything can happen," Archer said. "I'm hoping that other guys can step up and fill the voids that we're missing. I'm definitely going to be optimistic. I'm going to go out here and give it everything I have and encourage other guys to do the same."

Archer recognized that "on a personal level" the trade was "discouraging."

"But on a professional level, between the lines, we still have a job to do," Archer said. "It's going to be a challenge, but we have a job to do. So I'm going to go out there and do my job. ... And hopefully it's a successful season.

"Tough times reveal true character. Adversity reveals who you really are. ... And it's true. As a group in this room, we're not going to cave. We're going to have some learning to do, but we're not going to cave by any means."

Kiermaier said he was prepared to embrace the underdog role the Rays now find themselves in.

"I've been an underdog my whole life, I'm OK with this," Kiermaier said. "I feel like the Rays, no matter what our roster is, will always be an underdog. It's our job to go out there and prove people wrong and perform and execute. ... I'm going to try and make sure everybody has the right mindset. There's no need to pout."

Kiermaier quoted a motivational saying he'd seen.

"'Tough people last longer than tough times,' something along those lines," Kiermaier said. "And I mean it. This hasn't been an easy start to Spring Training. So we have to move on.

"... I've got a lot to prove, and so does this team. If we go out there and get a consistent performance in execution, we can do a lot of damage."

While the Rays will miss Souza in their lineup, the sentiment that their former teammate was a great person seemed to echo most.

Video: Souza Jr. thankful for his time with Rays

"We realize it's part of the game," Brad Miller said. "You build up relationships with these guys. You spend every waking moment with these guys. I've been lucky we've had a lot of championship players here. Great teammates that we've gotten to go out and battle with.

"I'm happy for Souza. ... Arizona seemed to [really want him]. He's going to do great out there. I have no doubts about that. But it definitely was a shock because I was kind of with him yesterday after he found out. I'm sure it's kind of a whirlwind for him. I always pull for Souza. It's been a lot of fun getting to play with him."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer, Steven Souza Jr., Kevin Kiermaier

Cron arrives in camp, wows in batting practice

New acquisition Solak also appears at Rays' facility
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- C.J. Cron worked out with Tampa Bay on Wednesday for the first time since getting traded by the Angels to the Rays for a player to be named.

"I just want to try and connect and get that bond," Cron said. "Because we're all going to be teammates. It's good [the trade] happened before Spring Training so I can meet them all and we can become a tight-knit group."

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- C.J. Cron worked out with Tampa Bay on Wednesday for the first time since getting traded by the Angels to the Rays for a player to be named.

"I just want to try and connect and get that bond," Cron said. "Because we're all going to be teammates. It's good [the trade] happened before Spring Training so I can meet them all and we can become a tight-knit group."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

Count Rays manager Kevin Cash among the impressed after watching Cron take batting practice on Wednesday.

"It was unbelievable how far he was hitting balls today in batting practice," Cash said. "Into the wind. It was like the wind was blowing out. So we do have some guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Cron will have more opportunity with the Rays after being blocked somewhat by Albert Pujols during the 28-year-old's time with the Angels.

"It's baseball," Cron said. "Sometimes you're going to have opportunities, sometimes you're not. When you get that opportunity, you have to make the most of it. That's what I'm most excited about, is to just play hard and try to win."

Cash said the right-handed-hitting Cron will play first base and designated hitter, which will be balanced with Brad Miller playing first, second and DH.

Cron's career numbers say he hits right-handers better than left-handers, hitting .268 with a .315 on-base percentage and a .457 slugging percentage against righties and .248/.288/.429 against lefties. Cron seemed non-plussed when asked about his reverse splits.

"I'm not sure about the numbers, but I feel comfortable against both sides," Cron said. "I don't really believe in the whole splits thing, with me personally. I feel like I hit both sides."

Solak arrives
Nick Solak was one of the four players the Rays received -- two additional players heading to the Rays are yet to be determined -- in the three-way deal involving the Yankees and D-backs that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona Tuesday. Solak arrived to Rays camp Tuesday morning.

The second baseman said he got the news around 5 or 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.

"[Yankees general manager] Brian Cashman called me and told me I'd been traded," Solak said. "From there, I got calls from the Rays, and I'm excited to be here."

Solak said he was "pretty surprised" about the trade.

"When I woke up in the morning yesterday, I didn't think I'd get traded," Solak said. "But I'm real excited for this opportunity and looking forward to it."

Video: Newest Ray Nick Solak discusses fresh opportunities

Solak, 23, hit .297/.384/.452 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs for Class A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton last season. He's known for his ability to get on base and for hitting the ball from gap to gap, more for average than power. Solak also possesses plus speed, per MLB Pipeline, and was appreciated for his competitiveness while in the Yankees' farm system.

Solak "is someone who has a very long history of hitting," Rays GM Erik Neander said. "He can flat out hit. He's a wonderful kid with a burning desire to improve and to make the most of what he has."

When told that Neander seemed to value his abilities, Solak said that he was excited to be in Rays camp and work with the staff and others in the clubhouse.

"It's a cool opportunity, and I can't wait to get to work," Solak said. "... I pride myself on all aspects of my game. Showing up to the ballpark and getting after it and improving in all aspects."

Solak, who attended the University of Louisville, was teammates with Brendan McKay, the Rays' No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft, for two seasons, and Grant Kay, who also attended Louisville, for one year.

Chrinos receives praise
Yonny Chirinos has opened eyes in camp with his ability. The right-hander was impressive in stints at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham in 2017. Cash complimented the Venezuelan native.

"Hearing his teammates talk about him. Brent Honeywell said he's one of the best teammates he's ever been around," Cash said. "The position players rave about him. They love to play defense behind him. He's one of those work-quick, put-the-ball-in-play type pitchers. He attacks the strike zone. You stand behind him and the deception coming out of the delivery really hides the ball well."

Up next
The Rays will have a light workout Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET at the Charlotte Sports Complex. All workouts are open to the public. The Rays will open Grapefruit League action on Friday with split-squad games, as they play the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., at 1:05 p.m., and the Pirates at the Charlotte Sports Complex at 1:05 p.m.

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

Tampa Bay Rays, C.J. Cron, Nick Solak

Fun-loving Gomez brings flash, flair to game

There are some players that deserve your attention. That's 98.637221 percent of Major Leaguers. Then there are those that reach through the TV and demand your attention every time they step near the field. 

Carlos Gomez, who the Rays reportedly inked to a one-year deal on Wednesday, belongs in that second camp.

Rays receive pair of prospects, trade Souza

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays continued to get younger on Tuesday, when they traded right fielder Steven Souza Jr. to the D-backs as part of a three-team deal that returns two prospects and two players to be named.

The Rays received left-hander Anthony Banda, who was the D-backs' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, along with second baseman Nick Solak, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays continued to get younger on Tuesday, when they traded right fielder Steven Souza Jr. to the D-backs as part of a three-team deal that returns two prospects and two players to be named.

The Rays received left-hander Anthony Banda, who was the D-backs' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, along with second baseman Nick Solak, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect.

The Yankees received utility man Brandon Drury from the D-backs and sent Minor League right-hander Taylor Widener to Arizona.

The trade comes after a busy weekend that saw the Rays acquire first baseman C.J. Cron in a trade with the Angels, trade right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios and designate left fielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

In December, the Rays traded third baseman Evan Longoria to the Giants, receiving infielder Christian Arroyo, outfielder Denard Span and a pair of Minor Leaguers in return.

"The moves prior to [the Souza deal], there were factors involved there where we were moving pieces from areas of depth we felt we could absorb and come out of the other end OK, especially with the addition of C.J. to our group," Rays general manager Erik Neander said. "This move was one that was really driven by Arizona's pursuit of Steven, and their desire to add him to their club."

Video: HOU@ARI: Banda gets Altuve swinging in the 1st

Neander said the Rays felt this deal was one they couldn't pass up "in terms of continuing to build out a really strong core" of young players.

Neander added that for the Rays to be a "sustainable winner" and to escape "the middle territory where we've been the last two years," they need to continue to build that young core. However, Neander still feels the team will be competitive this season, even though it must fill the void left by Souza's departure, which should likely be attempted before the end of Spring Training.

"This isn't a team that's going to win 60 games this year, this is a team with respect to the quality of the pitching we have and the quality of the defense we're going to have. We're going to be competitive," Neander said. "And that's still something that we believe."

Video: Neander on trading for prospects Banda and Solak

Rays fans will see a drastically different lineup this season, as the club's top four home-run leaders from last year -- Souza, Dickerson, Longoria and Logan Morrison -- are departed, though Dickerson and Morrison have not yet found landing spots.

The Rays entered the offseason with a mandate from principal owner Stu Sternberg to lower the payroll, and Tuesday night's deals, along with the moves over the weekend, lowered the payroll by approximately $15 million.

Banda, 24, debuted for Arizona last summer, compiling a 5.96 ERA over eight appearances (four starts). He led the D-backs' Minor League organizations in strikeouts and finished second in ERA in 2016, while reaching Triple-A for the first time, but he struggled to a 5.39 ERA over 22 starts for Triple-A Reno last year.

"A lefty that physically checks a lot of boxes," Neander said of Banda. "He's got a three-pitch mix right now. He's got a quality fastball that has reached the upper 90s, has a developing feel for a breaking ball that we'd like to see get a little more consistent and a good changeup.

"From all indications, good makeup, good work ethic, good character, somebody who will be right in the mix for us when he comes over to our camp."

Video: ARI@SF: Banda whiffs seven over six solid innings

MLB Pipeline grades Banda's curveball as his best pitch (earning a 60 on the 20-80 scale), followed by his mid-90s fastball, with a 55 grade.

Solak, 23, hit .297/.384/.452 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs for Class A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton last season. The former University of Louisville standout is known for his ability to get on base and for hitting the ball from gap to gap, more for average than power. Solak also possesses plus speed, per MLB Pipeline, and was appreciated for his competitiveness while in the Yankees' farm system.

"[Solak] is someone who has a very long history of hitting," Neander said. "He can flat-out hit. He's a wonderful kid with a burning desire to improve and to make the most of what he has."

Souza, 28, hit .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs and 78 RBIs in 2017, earning the Don Zimmer Award, given to the Rays' Most Valuable Player by the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Souza said he was surprised by the deal, but he understands baseball is a business and that getting traded is part of the equation. When asked if he had a message for the fans, the popular right fielder said, "I do."

"This is a hard time," Souza said. "I think it's a confusing time for Rays fans. And I love every Rays fan that ever supported us dearly. ... I think it's really hard in a time like this to see the silver lining. And they need to trust the front office and the GM, the coaching staff and the players, that they're trying to do what's best for the long-term future of the organization.

"It's not an easy job being the GM of a Major League team when there's a budget that's not very realistic that they have to meet. So I think that through the tough times, real fans stand beside a team when it goes through its low times and when it goes through its high times."

Video: Souza Jr. thankful for his time with Rays

Neander stressed several times that Tuesday night's deal was not money-driven, but rather "a pure baseball decision" based on the return they got for Souza.

The Rays acquired Souza from the Nationals on Dec. 19, 2014, in a three-way deal that also included the Rays sending Wil Myers to the Padres.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Chris Owings gains the most value from this deal among those on the D-backs, as he could shift from utility player to starting second baseman. The trade also boosts the value of Souza, who warrants Round 10 consideration in standard-league drafts as he prepares to bring his power-speed blend (30 homers, 16 steals in 2017) to a productive D-backs lineup.

Meanwhile, Mallex Smith becomes a late-round steal who could swipe 35 bases if given 550 plate appearances with the Rays this year. As for the Yankees, the acquisition of Drury likely eliminates the chance of the club opening the season with both Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar in the starting lineup, though one of the two prospects may still have an opportunity to land a spot.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Anthony Banda, Steven Souza Jr., Nick Solak

Mound adjustment key to Snell's breakout

Lefty recorded excellent results pitching from the center of the rubber at end of '17
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- After Blake Snell moved his starting position to the middle of the rubber prior to the end of the 2017 season, everything seemed to click into place mechanically for the left-hander. And the results showed in his strong finish with the Rays in '17, when he went 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his final 10 starts.

"As of now, from what I can see, I feel great," Snell said. "I feel aligned. I feel like when I play catch, I'm not drifting [my body position]. I'm consistent. Everything's exactly where I want it and I really couldn't be happier."

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- After Blake Snell moved his starting position to the middle of the rubber prior to the end of the 2017 season, everything seemed to click into place mechanically for the left-hander. And the results showed in his strong finish with the Rays in '17, when he went 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his final 10 starts.

"As of now, from what I can see, I feel great," Snell said. "I feel aligned. I feel like when I play catch, I'm not drifting [my body position]. I'm consistent. Everything's exactly where I want it and I really couldn't be happier."

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Snell had lined up on the third-base side of the rubber before making the change last season.

"I just think it knocked my consistency, knocked my [velocity] for sure," Snell said. "Throwing across your body, it's really hard to locate, it was just a big struggle for me."

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Snell now feels good about where he's at early in Spring Training.

"I had a good offseason," Snell said. "I can tell just by the way I'm throwing the ball right now."

Miller Healthy
Brad Miller hit a career-low .201 in 110 games for the Rays in 2017, hitting just nine home runs following a career-high 30-homer season in '16.

Truth be told, Miller was hurting for most of the 2017 season, which saw him miss 42 games due to a pair of stints on the disabled list. After offseason core muscle surgery, Miller is feeling good and ready to go this season.

"I had pretty extensive surgery," Miller said. "That was kind of my thing. At the end of the year, it's always self-evaluation, 'What do I have to do to get better?' For me it was pretty easy, I need to get this taken care of.

"They call it core muscle surgery. So basically I had to get both groins and my adductor repaired and reattached to my pelvis. And then also my lower abdomen, had to get it repaired and reattached. It was pretty shredded. There wasn't really a decision that needed to be made. It had to be done."

Miller's explanation of his injury and surgery should not be construed as a pity party, as he owned up to what transpired.

"I made the decision to play," Miller said. "I could have taken care of [the injury] during the season. But I felt like I could battle through it. I think if something like that happens again, I'll be more equipped mentally to go through it."

A healthy Miller will be a wild card for this year's team. Rays manager Kevin Cash has said Miller will primarily play first base, but he'll see some time at second base as well.

"Versatility is not a bad thing," Cash said. "If he's healthy, we're probably going to want that bat in the lineup quite a bit. He's just got to go into the season healthy."

Power 'pen
During the offseason, Cash said he expected to have a power bullpen this season, and nothing he has seen thus far in camp has changed that opinion.

"You can define power many different ways," Cash said. "Obviously, when you say power, many people think about the [velocity] and the fastball. We've got plenty of that, but we've also got some power sliders in there. Those guys might not be throwing in the mid-to-upper 90s, but the sharpness and tilt of their breaking ball turns it into a power pitch."

Video: Cash on adding to the Rays' bullpen

When asked if this was going to be his toughest spring for selecting the composition of the bullpen, Cash said, "In a good way."

"If our thoughts are right, and everything we've discussed during this offseason, we'll probably have four or five guys we would be OK having in the bullpen, but it probably won't work out right out of the gate," Cash said. "Our full 40-man roster has a chance to impact us. ... I think our roster will play a big role with us throughout the season."

Cron to camp Wednesday
C.J. Cron, whom the Rays acquired in a Saturday night trade with the Angels, got his physical in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, so he was unable to show up in camp for Tuesday's workout. He's expected to join the team on Wednesday.

Video: Rays acquire Cron, designate Dickerson for assignment

Cash said Cron will play first base and DH, "All the time against left-handed pitching."

"We look at him as a guy that we have to find some information about," Cash said. "But he complements our team very well. We envision him playing a lot."

Up next
The Rays will work out Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ET at Charlotte Sports Park. All workouts are open to the public. The Rays will open Grapefruit League action on Friday with a split-squad game, playing the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., at 1:05 p.m., and the Pirates at the Charlotte Sports Complex at 1:05 p.m.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Blake Snell

All clubs to don Douglas caps for ST openers

MLB.com @_dadler

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

Video: Teams to wear Stoneman Douglas hats for ST openers

"It's a tragedy. It was a tragedy that hit the state of Florida, where we have two teams, but obviously has very specific baseball connections," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Really a very strong sentiment among the clubs that this was the appropriate thing to do immediately."

MLB teams will wear the caps pregame on Friday and will also be allowed to wear them during their games. Since they're off on Friday, the Royals and Rangers will don the hats on Saturday.

The Commissioner approved the use of the caps during all games on Friday, the Spring Training openers for most of the clubs.

The effort started with a few Grapefruit League teams, which wanted to wear the caps pregame, and it quickly spread across camps in Florida and Arizona. Soon all 30 teams had decided to join in the support and fundraising effort for the school community.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo attended Stoneman Douglas, and spoke at a prayer vigil at Pine Trails Park the day after the shooting. 

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Rizzo said Monday about meeting with families of the victims of the shooting. "You don't know what to say, there's nothing you can say. When people get shot, you're grateful they're alive. When they pass away, you're grateful you knew them. Just to see how real it is, it's sad and it's why I'm so proud of what they're doing back in Parkland and how everyone is coming together. They're going to turn this tragedy into something positive.

"The caps made for the fundraising effort will be provided to all players, coaches and umpires."

The Stoneman Douglas High School caps are reminiscent of how the Mets wore NYPD and FDNY caps following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The Mets donned the caps to honor the first responders in their first game after the attacks, in Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, and again in their return to New York four days later. In that memorable game at Shea Stadium, Mike Piazza hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning to lead the Mets to an emotional win over the Braves.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Adames willing to play 2B to make the club

SS prospect's path currently blocked by Hechavarria
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Willy Adames is the Rays' shortstop of the future. But he's willing to do whatever is necessary to break camp with the Major League club, even if it means switching positions.

Second base is a spot in the infield where the jury is still out for who is the clear favorite to win the job. Based on the fact that Adeiny Hechavarria is the starting shortstop, Adames recognizes he might need to play another position due to Hechavarria's excellence.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Willy Adames is the Rays' shortstop of the future. But he's willing to do whatever is necessary to break camp with the Major League club, even if it means switching positions.

Second base is a spot in the infield where the jury is still out for who is the clear favorite to win the job. Based on the fact that Adeiny Hechavarria is the starting shortstop, Adames recognizes he might need to play another position due to Hechavarria's excellence.

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"I don't mind playing second," Adames said. "Last year, I played 10 games there at Triple-A. For me, I just want to get a job. If they want me to play second base, I don't mind. I just want to get to the big leagues. At whatever position they want me to play at."

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Shortstop is generally regarded as the position that requires the most skill and athleticism. Still, changing from a position one has played one's entire life can be a difficult endeavor.

"The hardest part was the feet, you have to move your feet in the opposite way," Adames said. "And the double plays. But I think second base is easier than shortstop because it's closer to first."

Adames, 22, remains a shortstop in the eyes of the Rays, but ...

"We're going to get him at short, and I think it's a priority to view Willy as a really good shortstop," manager Kevin Cash said. "But you never know when a need can come, and we want to be able to give him the opportunity.

"He played second base last year at Durham once or twice a week after the half. By all the reports, everybody raved about him doing that. We'll get him over there a little bit. But at this camp, he'll be at shortstop a lot."

Video: PHI@TB: Adames makes great stop, long throw

Adames knows what he has to do to get to the Major Leagues.

"I think I just have to be more consistent," Adames said. "The more consistent I am, that's the thing that's going to bring me to the big leagues. Because I think my defense is what keeps me in the Minor Leagues."

Hoping to become more consistent, especially when making the routine plays, Adames acknowledged that being around Hechavarria this spring could pay rich dividends. Cash agreed.

"We've all talked to Willy and he understands that for him to be an elite level shortstop, the consistency figures into the situation," Cash said. "But to watch it first hand with the guy you're taking ground balls with, there's probably more value with than anything we say to him."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames

Span defers to Kiermaier, ready to play left field

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Denard Span has played a lot of center field in his career, so he knows the Rays have a pretty good one in place with Kevin Kiermaier, and he doesn't have a problem being in left field.

"Yeah, I'm fine with that at this point in my career," the 33-year-old Span said. "I've covered more ground -- I don't even have a good analogy for you, but I've covered a lot of ground out there.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Denard Span has played a lot of center field in his career, so he knows the Rays have a pretty good one in place with Kevin Kiermaier, and he doesn't have a problem being in left field.

"Yeah, I'm fine with that at this point in my career," the 33-year-old Span said. "I've covered more ground -- I don't even have a good analogy for you, but I've covered a lot of ground out there.

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"It's just fun to watch him out there shag. I'm like, 'Man, that's how I used to look.' Now I've got to pick my spots here and there. I've got to save my bullets. But it's fun to watch."

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Kiermaier looking ahead

Kiermaier gazed around the inside of the Rays' clubhouse and noted: "This will be a very young team."

"I'm considered a veteran," said Kiermaier, prior to the Rays' first full-squad workout on Monday. "I've got three-plus years in the big leagues.

"... I'm not using service time for or against anyone. You're young, you can still go out there and play, but there's going to be times when rookies are going to look like rookies. I wish we could have brought in a few more veteran guys."

Video: Cash and Kiermaier discuss roster turnover

Kiermaier allowed that he loved the team's acquisition of Span.

"I wish we had more guys like that," Kiermaier said. "But we're all about the young, controllable guys. With that being said, you've got the guys like Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, Brent Honeywell, and many more to name, where there's so much upside to them. So it will be interesting to see when those guys will make an impact on our big league club.

"It is exciting to think about, but at the same time, you know how the business side goes with the Super Two eligibility, and what not. So who knows when we'll see those guys. But it will be interesting. Bottom line, we still have so much talent in this room, and I'm very optimistic."

Kiermaier allowed that within the clubhouse they are still experiencing an "awkward time period where you're still not over" the recent activity that saw Jake Odorizzi traded and Corey Dickerson designated for assignment.

"But we'll get over them and move on," Kiermaier said. "It's always tough when you're still trying to accept what happened."

Andriese on bullpen duty
On Sunday, manager Kevin Cash told reporters the Rays will begin the season with a four-man rotation due to the many off-days during the early part of the schedule. That pushed Matt Andriese to the bullpen, largely because he's had success flip-flopping between the two roles.

Andriese would prefer to be in the rotation, but he understands the decision.

"I've proved to them that I can do that," Andriese said. "So it gives them more security. You know, 'He can operate out of that role and do both.' Obviously, I want to be in the rotation. But with my ability to do both, it will help the club in the long run."

On the bright side, Andriese allowed that learning his role at this juncture was a good thing.

"Absolutely," Andriese said. "It's all about preparation at this point."

Up next
The Rays will hold a 10:30 a.m. ET workout at the Charlotte Sports Complex on Tuesday. All workouts are open to the public. The Rays will open Grapefruit League action on Friday with a split-squad situation, playing the Orioles in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m., and the Pirates at the Charlotte Sports Complex at 1:05 p.m.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Kiermaier, Denard Span

GM: Rays had depth for big-picture moves

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer told reporters he was excited about the arrival of first baseman C.J. Cron. However, the right-hander expressed disappointment on Sunday morning when discussing the Rays trading Jake Odorizzi and designating Corey Dickerson for assignment.

"Definitely two losses," Archer said. "But two tough losses yesterday betweeen 8 and 10 p.m. [when Saturday night's moves took place], that was rough."

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer told reporters he was excited about the arrival of first baseman C.J. Cron. However, the right-hander expressed disappointment on Sunday morning when discussing the Rays trading Jake Odorizzi and designating Corey Dickerson for assignment.

"Definitely two losses," Archer said. "But two tough losses yesterday betweeen 8 and 10 p.m. [when Saturday night's moves took place], that was rough."

Rays get Cron from Halos; Odorizzi to Twins

The Rays traded Odorizzi to the Twins for Minor League shortstop Jermaine Palacios, Minnesota's No. 27 prospect per MLB Pipeline. They also acquired Cron from the Angels for a player to be named, while parting ways with DH/left fielder Dickerson.

"I would point to a few things," Rays GM Erik Neander said. "One, I would point to our depth in these two transactions. They came from areas where we do have depth [with starting pitching and left-handed-hitting outfielders].

"If we're running guys back to [Triple-A] Durham that we believe merit time in the big leagues, that's not necessarily something bigger picture, when you're trying to grow and develop a young group, that might not be in our best interest. The same goes on the left-handed outfielder side. You have to be mindful of depth where you have it."

Video: Rays players react to recent roster moves

Odorizzi won his arbitration case with the Rays last week, the second year in a row the right-hander has done so, earning a $6.35 million contract for 2018. Meanwhile, Dickerson was set to make $5.95 million in '18. If the Rays do not manage to trade him, which is the team's expressed desire, they will absorb roughly $1 million in termination pay. Cron will make $2.3 million in 2018.

"The economics are always something for us -- any team, you're paying attention to it, how you allocate money, how you allocate playing time," Neander said. "This was an opportunity for us on the position-player side to effectively make a swap. It allows [us] to be a more functional roster, and it gives us a player with another year of control [in Cron]. And one that [his right-handedness] fits, and in terms of the upside fits."

Included in the depth of starters, the Rays have Archer, Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi, Jake Faria, and Matt Andriese. In addition, they have prospects Yonny Chirinos, Jose De Leon, Brent Honeywell and Ryan Yarbrough waiting in the wings.

Dickerson was deemed expendable since the team already has three left-handed-hitting outfielders in Mallex Smith, Kevin Kiermaier, and Denard Span.

Video: Rays acquire Cron, designate Dickerson for assignment

As for not receiving a Major Leaguer for Odorizzi and instead receiving a low-level Minor Leaguer, Neander noted that Palacios has a high ceiling. Acquiring a high-ceiling player that the Rays can slot lower in the farm system works better, given the glut of near-ready prospects higher up.

"In terms of timing, certainly inserting another shortstop, infielder, especially a right-handed hitter, into our young mix in that Triple-A, Major League area, probably isn't something that would be a wise use of our resources," Neander said. "Time will tell how that plays out."

What will the Rays miss by not having Odorizzi?

"There was a level of certainty that Odi brought," Archer said. "He's a model of consistency. And he's an ultra competitor. At times, guys have to pitch through minor injuries. You knew Odi was going to take the ball if he was healthy. If he was 80 or 90 percent."

"Odi's been talked about being traded for awhile. You'd think that a pitcher of his caliber would return something special. And maybe this kid we got is special."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi