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Rays get Bucs' No. 4 prospect to cap Archer deal

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The final piece of the Chris Archer trade with the Pirates came into focus on Tuesday, when Pittsburgh sent right-hander Shane Baz, its No. 4 prospect, to Tampa Bay as the player to be named in the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline deal.

That unnamed player was expected to be one of consequence, and Baz certainly fits that bill. The 19-year-old from Texas was the Pirates' first-round Draft pick in 2017 (12th overall selection), and he signed above slot value for $4.1 million.

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NEW YORK -- The final piece of the Chris Archer trade with the Pirates came into focus on Tuesday, when Pittsburgh sent right-hander Shane Baz, its No. 4 prospect, to Tampa Bay as the player to be named in the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline deal.

That unnamed player was expected to be one of consequence, and Baz certainly fits that bill. The 19-year-old from Texas was the Pirates' first-round Draft pick in 2017 (12th overall selection), and he signed above slot value for $4.1 million.

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"I know we're excited to get him," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's a really high-end prospect. Twelfth overall pick. Very powerful right-handed kid. There's probably going to be some time before we see him, but to put a kid like that into our system ... I know he's a guy that during the Draft, we talked a lot about. We were happy with who we picked at four, but we were disappointed we didn't get the opportunity, and now with that trade, we have him."

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Baz, RHP, Rays

Baz, ranked No. 95 among all prospects by MLB Pipeline, projects as a top-of-the-rotation arm, with fastball velocity that touches 98 mph and sits between 92-96 to go with a plus cutter that scouting reports suggest can be turned into a true slider. He also spins a unique curveball, giving him an elite multi-pitch arsenal that not many his age possess.

Baz went 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA and 54 strikeouts over 10 starts (45 1/3 innings) this year for the Bristol Pirates, a Rookie-level affiliate. He made 10 starts for the Gulf Coast League Pirates last year, going 0-3 with a 3.80 ERA. He has 73 strikeouts in 69 pro innings and was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week on Monday after recording back-to-back scoreless outings for the first time this season.

Breaking down Archer trade with final piece set

In total, the Pirates sent Baz, outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Tyler Glasnow -- each of whom is expected to play a significant Major League role in the coming years -- in exchange for Archer, who has made two starts for the Pirates and is scheduled to start on Wednesday. Meadows was Pittsburgh's first-round pick in 2013, and Glasnow was taken in the fifth round in 2011.

Glasnow, who was moved to the Pirates' bullpen earlier this year, has returned to the rotation for the Rays, filling in behind All-Star Blake Snell and Jake Faria. Glasnow has made three starts for Tampa Bay, giving up three earned runs while holding opposing hitters to a .150/.209/.325 slash line in 12 innings. He topped out at 99.7 mph and averaged 97.1 mph in his most recent start, on Sunday in Toronto.

Video: TB@TOR: Glasnow sharp against Toronto in no-decision

Meadows, who had been up and down between the Pirates and the Minors, was assigned to Triple-A Durham the day following the trade. He's hitting .333/.372/.718 with three homers in 42 plate appearances over 11 games for Durham.

"I think it's a pretty good haul," Faria said. "I wouldn't have expected anything less. Trading a guy like Arch, you expect to get a pretty good haul.

"But we got two big league-ready guys, and one guy who was a first-rounder last year. Seems like a pretty big guy. I mean, Twitter fell apart as soon as his name was announced. Looks like a really good return on our part."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Chaz Roe is back with the team after being activated from the 10-day disabled list (torn left meniscus). Roe made two appearances during a rehab assignment for Class A Charlotte, retiring all six batters he faced.

Cash noted that having Roe back means "a lot" to the team.

"We've asked Chaz, basically ever since he got here last year, we've challenged him with getting some big outs," Cash said. "Late in the ballgame, a lot of big outs with right-handed hitters. The knee thing popped up. He tried to pitch through it. Went and got that procedure done.

"He's in a much better spot physically, and probably mentally, knowing he can go out there and perform pain-free. He'll add to some of that veteran leadership. Kind of complement Sergio [Romo] and continue to get big outs for us."

Roe told reporters he's back to full speed and that he has no restraints in regard to what he can and can't do in games.

• Outfielder Tommy Pham (10-day DL, fractured right foot) is with the team in New York as he continues to progress.

"Tommy's doing well," said Cash of Pham, whom the Rays acquired from St. Louis for three prospects on July 31, and who will begin a rehab assignment at Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley. "It's not the easiest thing to come here, then go on the DL and be away from the team for 10 days.

"There's no urgency [for him to return]. We want to make sure he's 100 percent healthy. I know he's going in the right direction. But when you fracture a bone, it takes some time to heal."

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

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays get Pham from Cardinals

3 prospects sent to St. Louis for outfielder, international bonus pool money
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Consistent with how the Rays do business, they made a trade for Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham and international bonus pool money in exchange for three Minor League prospects: outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No. 14 prospect, left-hander Genesis Cabrera (No. 25) and right-hander Roel Ramirez.

While Chris Archer had been the focus of trade rumors involving the Rays -- and was dealt to the Pirates before Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. ET Deadline -- the Pham deal seemingly came out of nowhere.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Consistent with how the Rays do business, they made a trade for Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham and international bonus pool money in exchange for three Minor League prospects: outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No. 14 prospect, left-hander Genesis Cabrera (No. 25) and right-hander Roel Ramirez.

While Chris Archer had been the focus of trade rumors involving the Rays -- and was dealt to the Pirates before Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. ET Deadline -- the Pham deal seemingly came out of nowhere.

Video: COL@STL: Mozeliak talks about trading Pham to Rays

"I woke up to [Cards president John Mozeliak] calling me early this morning with the news, so I was really shocked," Pham told MLB Network Radio. "That's the first thing, you know, you wake up to your boss calling you that you've gotten traded, it's shocking."

Pham is hitting .248 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs.

"It hurts," he said. "More specifically, for me, I've been underperforming from my expectations, and I feel like if I had done my job better, [the Cards] wouldn't be so far down in the standings."

A late bloomer, Pham emerged with both his bat and his glove to break into St. Louis' lineup last season, hitting .306 and slugging .520 with 23 homers. Pham, 30, is making just $570,000 this season and is under team control through 2021. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter. In March, details emerged that Pham rejected the Cardinals' offer of a two-year, $4 million contract extension.

Tweet from @snellzilla4: Let���s go!!!! Welcome to the family!! @TphamLV

Williams, 22, who came to the Rays in the November 2014 trade that sent Jeremy Hellickson to the D-backs, played in one game for the Rays this season. He was hitting .258 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs for Triple-A Durham.

Cabrera, 21, was 7-6 with a 4.12 ERA in 21 games at Double-A Montgomery while Ramirez, 23, was 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 42 games for Montgomery and Class A Advanced Charlotte.

With Pham out of the mix, the Cardinals have various directions they can now turn to plug the opening in their outfield. Harrison Bader, who is hitting .265/.338/.400 over 83 games, is the best defensive outfielder on the team's 25-man roster. This could also make room for outfielder Tyler O'Neill, who has 26 homers and 61 RBIs in 61 games with Triple-A Memphis. He, too, can play center.

Williams will be part of the outfield mix, as well, though the Cardinals plan to send him to Memphis for now. A second-round Draft pick in 2013, Williams appeared in 94 games for Tampa Bay's Triple-A affiliate this season. He hit .258/.313/.376 as the club's everyday right fielder.

Tampa Bay entered Tuesday 21 games out of the American League East lead and 10 games back of the league's second Wild Card spot, so this would appear to be a move directed more toward the club's future beyond 2018.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Tommy Pham

How the Rays fare in prospect ranking update

Archer talks potential last start with club; Cash on Beeks, Perez additions
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- MLB Pipeline released its updated 2018 Top 100 Prospects and Top 30 Prospects by team rankings on Thursday. Six Rays prospects were among the Top 100.

Shortstop/second baseman Willy Adames is the highest ranked Rays prospect in the Top 100 at No. 22. Others in the Top 100 include RHP Brent Honeywell (No. 24), LHP/1B Brendan McKay (No. 30), OF Jesus Sanchez (No. 32), SS Wander Franco (No. 41) and LHP Matthew Liberatore (No. 68).

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BALTIMORE -- MLB Pipeline released its updated 2018 Top 100 Prospects and Top 30 Prospects by team rankings on Thursday. Six Rays prospects were among the Top 100.

Shortstop/second baseman Willy Adames is the highest ranked Rays prospect in the Top 100 at No. 22. Others in the Top 100 include RHP Brent Honeywell (No. 24), LHP/1B Brendan McKay (No. 30), OF Jesus Sanchez (No. 32), SS Wander Franco (No. 41) and LHP Matthew Liberatore (No. 68).

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Last start?
Chris Archer, the subject of countless trade rumors, was asked Thursday if he had any thoughts about the possibility of Friday's start against the Orioles being his last as a member of the Rays.

"I haven't thought that much about it," Archer said. "There's always a lot of speculation. My main focus, as cliche as that sounds, is pitching tomorrow and giving our team a chance to win. That's it."

Video: MIA@TB: Archer strikes out season-high 13 vs. Marlins

Archer was asked if the two trades on Wednesday coming to fruition made him antsy that he may soon be dealt to another team.

"Not really," Archer said. "I've been trying to do my best to put as little energy as possible into things I can't control. All I control is 60 feet, six inches tomorrow."

New guys
As far as trades are concerned, the Rays had a busy day on Wednesday. Two of the new players, left-hander Jalen Beeks and catcher Michael Perez, were in uniform and on the club's roster on Thursday.

Beeks came to the team in the deal that sent Nathan Eovaldi to the Red Sox.

Video: Top Prospects: Jalen Beeks, LHP, Rays

"He's done some special things in Triple-A," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Pretty well known within the industry. We've received a lot of compliments. We just want to get him in here and to get comfortable."

Cash said Beeks could provide length out of the bullpen, but he could also find some starts.

"Hopefully, I can help this team win," Beeks said. "Just be a positive influence in the clubhouse. Just try to be a team guy and do the best I can when I'm here."

Perez was shipped to the Rays in the trade that sent Matt Andriese to the D-backs. In his Major League debut on Thursday with his new team, Perez knocked a double for his first MLB hit in a 4-3 win for the Rays.

Video: TB@BAL: Perez double for 1st Major League hit in 5th

"[Perez's] all-around game defensively has been something we've valued, we've monitored," Cash said. "Our guys do a good job of knowing what makes people special, and we feel he can be a special defender, special overall catcher. Left-handed [batter] that's swung the bat pretty well in Triple-A. Get here, and he's going to get to play some. We'll see how it goes from there."

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

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays thrilled to add Beeks' 'deep repertoire'

Neander, Tampa Bay had 'kept tabs' on prospect for years
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- General manager Erik Neander sounded excited about the return the Rays got by sending Nathan Eovaldi to the Red Sox in Wednesday's trade for left-hander Jalen Beeks.

"The return, Jalen Beeks, this is a pitcher we've kept close tabs on for a few years," Neander said.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- General manager Erik Neander sounded excited about the return the Rays got by sending Nathan Eovaldi to the Red Sox in Wednesday's trade for left-hander Jalen Beeks.

"The return, Jalen Beeks, this is a pitcher we've kept close tabs on for a few years," Neander said.

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Though Tampa Bay isn't sure where Beeks will begin his tenure in its organization, he could be joining the Major League squad soon.

"We're talking through it right now, but I think there's a decent enough chance that he joins us in Baltimore," said Neander, citing the city where the Rays begin a four-game series against the Orioles on Thursday.

Video: Eovaldi discusses being traded to the Red Sox

Beeks, 25, is 34-28 with a 3.63 ERA in parts of five Minor League seasons, including a 5-5 mark with a 3.29 ERA for Triple-A Pawtucket this season. He had two appearances for Boston this year, going 0-1 with a 12.79 ERA.

"He's had the two Major League experiences," Neander said. "Obviously, those didn't go very well, and those aren't our expectations moving forward. Somebody with a deep repertoire, he commands, he competes. He's a guy we think has a chance to be a Major League starter, and we'll see where things go."

Neander noted that Beeks "can really pitch," which accounts for his high strikeout numbers.

Video: Cash discusses losing Eovaldi, adding prospect Beeks

"He can ride the fastball, he can move it in and out," Neander said. "... There's glove-side command, there's arm-side command, and there's feel to elevate. He's got a cutter. He's got a curveball. He's got a changeup. There's a lot of mix. There's a lot of setting up. There's a lot of sequencing.

"I don't necessarily think right now he has a go-to strikeout pitch that he can lean on. I think a lot of those strikeouts in Triple-A have been more of a product of pitching and setting guys up."

Clearly, Neander wants to see what Beeks can do at the Major League level.

"With a guy like that, I think it's essential to give him an opportunity to get feedback at the Major League level, to better learn what sequences work, what sequences don't," Neander said. "Where the strike zone is, etc. And there's no real substitute for getting that opportunity."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Jalen Beeks

Rays net prospect Beeks from Sox for Eovaldi

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Nathan Eovaldi wasn't exactly suprised to find out that the Rays had traded him to the Red Sox on Wednesday for left-handed pitching prospect Jalen Beeks.

"I knew I was on the trading block," Eovaldi said. "... I assumed [getting traded] was a possibility, particularly where I am in my career and the way my contract was for this year. I assumed that I would get traded. As to what team it would be, I wasn't thinking about that at all."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Nathan Eovaldi wasn't exactly suprised to find out that the Rays had traded him to the Red Sox on Wednesday for left-handed pitching prospect Jalen Beeks.

"I knew I was on the trading block," Eovaldi said. "... I assumed [getting traded] was a possibility, particularly where I am in my career and the way my contract was for this year. I assumed that I would get traded. As to what team it would be, I wasn't thinking about that at all."

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Eovaldi added: "[Still], everything's kind of swirling right now."

Eovaldi, 28, had been scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon's game against the Yankees. Right-hander Ryne Stanek stepped in to make the start and tossed a scoreless inning in the Rays' 3-2 win.

Getting traded is "pretty much the same every time," Eovaldi said. "They just told me I'd been traded, and it was to Boston. I just let [the Rays] know how thankful I was for the opportunity to come over here at that point of my career. To just take that year for recovery. I can't thank the Rays enough."

Video: MIA@TB: Eovaldi tosses six strong frames vs. Marlins

Eovaldi was reminded that he was going from a third-place team to a team with the best record in baseball.

"It's definitely exciting," Eovaldi said.

Eovaldi has experienced the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry from the Yanks' side, as he made 51 appearances for New York in two years with the team.

"Those [Yankees-Red Sox] games are definitely exciting," Eovaldi said. "The fans, it's kind of one of those indescribable feelings. The tensions are always high. It's always real good games, good series."

Eovaldi returned from Tommy John surgery (August 2016) and arthroscopic surgery (March 30) on his right elbow to make 10 starts for the Rays this season, going 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA. When Eovaldi made his season debut on May 30 at Oakland, he became the 12th pitcher to start in the Majors after multiple Tommy John surgeries. Of the pitchers who have done so, he is only the seventh to make at least five starts.

Video: Eovaldi discusses being traded to the Red Sox

Eovaldi allowed that his arrangement with the Rays had been mutually beneficial.

"I do think it was fair," said Eovaldi, who did not pitch for Tampa Bay in 2017. "They're getting a really good left-handed pitcher in return for me. ... There's a lot of talent over here for the Rays and they're headed in the right direction."

"He's a guy that's not making a lot of money. He's got a power arm. He throws strikes. Any contender has room for a guy like that," said Rays general manager Erik Neander on the demand for Eovaldi.

Beeks, 25, is on the 40-man roster, and his assignment is to be determined. He has totaled three days of Major League service time over two stints with the Red Sox this season, and he made his big league debut in a start on June 7 against the Tigers.

Rays thrilled to add Beeks' 'deep repertoire'

In 16 starts with Triple-A Pawtucket, Beeks is 5-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 117 strikeouts. Over five Minors seasons, Beeks is 34-28 with a 3.63 ERA in 96 appearances (94 starts). In 2017, he was named the Red Sox's Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Beeks was selected by the Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2014 Draft out of the University of Arkansas, where he was a teammate of Stanek for one season ('13).

The Rays had a busy morning.

Right-hander Chih-Wei Hu was optioned to Triple-A Durham, and left-hander Jonny Venters was activated to take his place. Venters entered the game on Wednesday in a ninth-inning double switch, and he retired Greg Bird on a groundout, In addition, right-hander Austin Pruitt was recalled from Durham to take Eovaldi's spot.

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Jalen Beeks, Nathan Eovaldi

Adames called up, draws critical walk in rally

Williams sent down day after making MLB debut
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- After making his MLB debut in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Marlins, Rays No. 8 prospect Justin Williams returned to Triple-A Durham. Tampa Bay recalled infielder Willy Adames -- the team's No. 2 prospect -- in his place.

With Matt Duffy (back spasms) and Kevin Kiermaier (right foot soreness) out Saturday night and Adeiny Hechavarria (sore oblique) having to leave after the seventh inning, the Rays had to bring in Carlos Gomez to play second base in the eighth and ninth innings. Hechavarria does not feel like he's headed to the disabled list, but he's not yet ready to be back out at shortstop.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- After making his MLB debut in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Marlins, Rays No. 8 prospect Justin Williams returned to Triple-A Durham. Tampa Bay recalled infielder Willy Adames -- the team's No. 2 prospect -- in his place.

With Matt Duffy (back spasms) and Kevin Kiermaier (right foot soreness) out Saturday night and Adeiny Hechavarria (sore oblique) having to leave after the seventh inning, the Rays had to bring in Carlos Gomez to play second base in the eighth and ninth innings. Hechavarria does not feel like he's headed to the disabled list, but he's not yet ready to be back out at shortstop.

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"Obviously, with Hech and his oblique -- I think he's going to be more day to day -- we needed another infielder," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Sending down Justin Williams, it's tough. I think we pride ourselves in trying not to make those quick decisions. But he was on the roster. We needed somebody, just because of the injuries to the bench lately.

"It's not ideal, but [Williams will] go down there. I reassured him, we all reassured him, he's done some good things. He's definitely in the plans. He's a young player. Part of that core we're excited to see what the future brings. But he's done good things. He'll go back down there and continue to do so."

Duffy started at third base in Sunday's 6-4 walk-off win over the Marlins at Tropicana Field. Adames started at shortstop, and though the rookie went 0-for-3, he drew a critical walk during the Rays' ninth inning rally, which ended on a pinch-hit grand slam by Daniel Robertson.

Video: MIA@TB: Choi, Robertson lift Rays to comeback win

Williams, 22, made his debut Saturday when he pinch-hit for Hechavarria in the seventh inning, grounding into a double play to end the frame.

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames, Justin Williams

Rays call up No. 8 prospect Williams

Outfielder makes Major League debut after Hechavarria exits
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No.8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, made his Major League debut in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Marlins.

Williams was recalled from Triple-A Durham to help shore up the Rays' offense with Kevin Kiermaier (right foot soreness) sidelined, as well as Matt Duffy (back spasms).

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No.8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, made his Major League debut in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Marlins.

Williams was recalled from Triple-A Durham to help shore up the Rays' offense with Kevin Kiermaier (right foot soreness) sidelined, as well as Matt Duffy (back spasms).

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Left-hander Hoby Milner was optioned to Durham to make room for Williams.

Williams, 22, made his debut when he pinch-hit for Adeiny Hechavarria in the seventh inning.

"It was crazy," Williams said. "I wasn't nervous after the first pitch. My mind was saying, 'Just try to get the job done.'"

Williams was used as a pinch-hitter because Hechavarria left the game with an oblique issue. So the left-handed hitting Williams' first at-bat came against left-hander Adam Conley.

Williams then hit into an inning-ending double play.

"I do a lot of dumb things, but I don't know if I'd go left against left," said Rays manager Kevin Cash, when asked about Williams getting put into a tough spot. "It was probably good, because we ambushed him. ... He didn't have time to think about it."

Williams was hitting .267 with eight home runs and 45 RBIs in 87 games for the Bulls this season.

"Exciting young player," Cash said. "Talking to [Durham manager] Jared [Sandberg] today, he's made progress. Obviously, any guy at Triple-A, there's still room to improve. He's done some good things. I know our hitting coordinators and hitting coaches, they really like him. He hits the ball really hard.

"I saw him in Spring Training, and then I saw him out in the Arizona Fall League. A lot of talent. He's young, but hopefully we can get him out there, get him in a ballgame, and let him get acclimated like we've done with a lot of these other guys."

Cash said he did not know if Williams' time with the club will be an abbreviated stint or not.

"In fairness, a lot will be determined by [Kiermaier] and how he's able to respond and come back from his foot injury," Cash said.

Durham was in Buffalo, so Williams did not make it to Tropicana Field in time for the start of the game.

Williams was selected by the D-backs in the second round of the 2013 Draft and was acquired by the Rays in the November 2014 trade involving Jeremy Hellickson.

Cash noted that Milner's performance Friday night -- when he allowed three runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning -- had nothing to do with the move. They simply needed another position player.

"You hate doing that," said Cash about optioning Milner. "We're intrigued by Hoby. We like Hoby. The deception he creates, [it's good for] left on left matchups."

Kiermaier day to day

A day after leaving the game with right foot pain, Kiermaier had an MRI and got a cortisone shot.

"There's still a bone bruise there, just kind of like we expected," Kiermaier said. "So I got a cortisone shot, so I should be feeling 100 percent by Monday."

Kiermaier told reporters that the lingering pain in his foot stems from an April 8 game in which he fouled a ball off his foot.

"Yesterday was kind of the breaking point for me and the worst day I've had, so I had to speak up and let these guys know that we need to do something else to figure this thing out," said Kiermaier, who hit a leadoff double Friday night but had to leave the game after the fifth inning.

Kiermaier will have to wait 36 hours after the shot before he can resume activity.

"I'm happy that I'll feel as good as I've felt all season, once Monday comes around," Kiermaier said.

"We're going to give him a day or two to kind of see if that pain and irritation subsides and we'll go from there," Cash said. "But we're hopeful that he'll be in here real soon for us. We didn't place him on the DL, so we think he'll be back sooner than later."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Kiermaier, Justin Williams

Adames optioned to Triple-A to get more action

Rays hope to get club's No. 2 prospect into better rhythm
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- In order to get one of their top prospects more playing time, the Rays optioned shortstop Willy Adames to Triple-A Durham on Thursday. In a corresponding roster move, right-hander Chih-Wei Hu was recalled from Durham.

Adames, the Rays' No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, hit .216/.263/.341 with three homers in 26 games with Tampa Bay. He was called up on May 22 after Adeiny Hechavarria went on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- In order to get one of their top prospects more playing time, the Rays optioned shortstop Willy Adames to Triple-A Durham on Thursday. In a corresponding roster move, right-hander Chih-Wei Hu was recalled from Durham.

Adames, the Rays' No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, hit .216/.263/.341 with three homers in 26 games with Tampa Bay. He was called up on May 22 after Adeiny Hechavarria went on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain.

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But with Hechavarria back in the mix over the past few weeks, Adames had been bumped from his natural position at shortstop and was playing primarily at second base.

"It was a really hard decision," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We thought about it and, in fairness to Willy, when we called him up, we thought we were going to be able to do a better job of creating a lane. We've got a lot of good infielders here right now playing. We needed pitching, which also went into it, obviously, with the two bullpen days back to back."

Video: TB@NYM: Adames clubs a homer to center in the 5th

Adames, MLB Pipeline's No. 19 overall prospect, hit .286/.356/.424 with four homers and 30 RBIs in Triple-A prior to his promotion. The organization hopes that more consistent playing time will help Adames find his rhythm.

"Ultimately, it was more about Willy, in fairness," Cash said. "We want him to be a shortstop. He's got to get some reps down there and get some more consistency. But we anticipate he's going to go do his thing. He was positive with the message, and get him right back up here."

This will be Hu's second Major League stint for the Rays this season. He made one appearance, allowing three runs in 2 2/3 innings vs. the Rangers on April 16, before being sent down. He has recorded a 4.66 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts) for Durham. The Rays used five pitchers on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames

Rays sign 1st-rounder McClanahan at deadline

Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Going into Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline unsure of first-round Draft pick Shane McClanahan's signability, the Rays came to an agreement with the left-handed pitcher, who was the 31st overall pick in the 2018 Draft.

Rays 2018 Draft Tracker

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NEW YORK -- Going into Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline unsure of first-round Draft pick Shane McClanahan's signability, the Rays came to an agreement with the left-handed pitcher, who was the 31st overall pick in the 2018 Draft.

Rays 2018 Draft Tracker

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McClanahan, who was 5-6 with a 3.42 ERA in 14 starts as a redshirt sophomore at the University of South Florida, will report to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays agree to sign No. 22 int'l prospect Pie

MLB.com

A year ago on July 2, the Rays signed shortstop Wander Franco, once considered the top prospect in the 2017-2018 international class, and the club went on to ink more than two dozen prospects during the period.

A year ago on July 2, the Rays signed shortstop Wander Franco, once considered the top prospect in the 2017-2018 international class, and the club went on to ink more than two dozen prospects during the period.

:: 2018 International Signing Period ::

This year, the Rays have once again targeted one of the top prospects on the international market.

According to industry sources, the Rays agreed to a $1.4 million deal with shortstop Alejandro Pie, ranked No. 22 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list. Pie is big, athletic and loaded with talent.

The Rays have not confirmed the deal.

At the plate, Pie displays above-average bat speed and projects to have above-average raw power in the future. He has shown smooth defensive actions and strong arm. He's a also solid runner -- consistently clocked in the 6.6-6.7-second range in the 60-yard run.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs -- like the Rays -- that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft received a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Draft received $5,504,500. All other clubs received $4,983,500.

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays sign first-round Draft pick Liberatore

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays announced the signing of left-hander Matthew Liberatore, the club's No. 1 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and the No. 16 selection overall. He will join the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Rays.

According to MLB.com's Jim Callis, Liberatore signed for $3.5 million.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays announced the signing of left-hander Matthew Liberatore, the club's No. 1 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and the No. 16 selection overall. He will join the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Rays.

According to MLB.com's Jim Callis, Liberatore signed for $3.5 million.

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"Super excited [about signing]," Liberatore said. "I was actually signing the contract and started to get chills. This is something every kid dreams of. And for most kids, that doesn't become a reality. Today, I made that a reality. I'm pretty excited to get started."

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Liberatore, 18, went 8-1 with a 0.93 ERA and 104 strikeouts as a senior at Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) High School and was Arizona's Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. He was named a first-team Rawlings/Perfect Game All-American for this past season, and helped lead Mountain Ridge to the Class 6A state championship game.

Last summer, Liberatore pitched 12 scoreless innings for USA Baseball's 18U National Team and recorded the win in its gold medal game over Korea.

"As an organization, we believe that Matthew has the physical and mental ability to develop into a top-end starting pitching prospect," said Rob Metzler, the Rays' director of amateur scouting. "Through hard work to this point in his career, Matthew has shown an advanced ability to compete with an impressive repertoire of pitches and an arm action and delivery built for sustained success.

"On top of his physical ability, he is a young man with strong character and a great mental foundation for playing baseball. We believe these ingredients will continue to flourish in our system. We are thrilled that we were able to complete a deal so quickly after the Draft in order to get Matthew started on his professional journey."

Liberatore, who had committed to the University of Arizona, will join the Gulf Coast League Rays on Wednesday.

"College was always a part of the picture, and always a possibility, but I felt like this was definitely the right fit for my family and I," Liberatore said. "So once I figured that was the right decision, then I wanted to get it done as quick as possible."

Liberatore called the Rays "a great organization known for developing pitchers."

• Rays walk away from Draft 'pleased'

"David Price came up through this organization," Liberatore said. "He was the face of the franchise for a number of years, kind of led the team. That's a role that I want to fill one day.

"At the end of the day, [pitching] is my favorite thing in the whole world," he added. "So I think when I get the opportunity to step on the mound for the first time wearing a Rays uniform, I think that's what I'm most excited for."

MLB.com ranked Liberatore as the No. 4 overall player in this year's Draft. The Rays selected him higher than any other high school pitcher in club history, and he became the fourth high school pitcher selected by the Rays in the first round, following Jason Standridge (No. 31) in 1997, Taylor Guerrieri (No. 24) in 2011 and Blake Snell (No. 52) in 2011.

Only five pitchers have ever been drafted higher by the Rays: Dewon Brazelton (No. 3) in 2001, Jeff Niemann (No. 4) in 2004, Wade Townsend (No. 8) in 2005, Price (No. 1) in 2007 and Brendan McKay (No. 4) in 2017.

Liberatore was one of five selections made by the Rays on the first day of the Draft, along with left-handed pitcher Shane McClanahan (University of South Florida), center fielder Nick Schnell (Roncalli High School), shortstop Tyler Frank (Florida Atlantic University) and center fielder and right-handed pitcher Tanner Dodson (University of California).

Liberatore joins Frank as the only two players to sign from the Rays' Day 1 selections.

The Rays also announced the signing of their fourth-round Draft pick (107th overall), Tulane outfielder Grant Witherspoon. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Witherspoon was named first-team All-American Athletic Conference and led Tulane in batting (.330), doubles (19), home runs (12), RBIs (53) and stolen bases (13).

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

Tampa Bay Rays

Bauers' first MLB HR puts Rays in front in win

Rookie first baseman also doubled and scored key run on error
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Bauers thought he might have hit his first Major League home run.

"I knew I got it off the end [of the bat] a little bit," Bauers said. "But I knew I got enough."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Bauers thought he might have hit his first Major League home run.

"I knew I got it off the end [of the bat] a little bit," Bauers said. "But I knew I got enough."

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The ball landed in the right-field stands, coming off a fastball from Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio with a man aboard to give the Rays a one-run lead. They promptly added to that advantage to take an 8-4 win Monday night at Tropicana Field.

"Really was just trying to stay in the middle of the field," said Bauers of his hit. "Hit something hard. Hopefully it gets through and scores [Matt Duffy]. But he left a fastball up in the zone. Got just enough barrel to it and it sailed out."

Making Bauers' moment more special was the fact that Willy Adames, Bauers' close friend, played shortstop after getting recalled prior to Monday night's game.

Video: TOR@TB: Rays discuss young players' big night in win

"I want to say I blacked out a little bit getting around the bases," Bauers said. "And then, of course, the first person I see in the dugout is Willy with a giant smile on his face. So it was a blast out there tonight."

Said Adames of the moment: "I told him, 'Were you waiting for me to get here to hit your first homer?' And he said, 'Yes, buddy.'"

Adames went 1-for-2 with two RBIs, combining with Bauers to give the Rays' attack a youthful look. The pair is set up to be a big part of the team's future, as Adames is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Tampa Bay's No. 2 prospect, while Bauers checks in at No. 5. 

Video: TOR@TB: Adames laces an RBI single into left field

"Look, youthful energy is fun to be around," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Are they going to have a game like that every night? Probably not. But they play the game the right way. They're capable of showing up in big spots. They showed that today. ... You can't deny the fact that these are exciting young players that we've heard so much about."

Ryan Yarbrough started for the Rays and allowed four runs in the first four innings, then hung on to give the Rays six innings en route to his fifth win of the season.

Video: TOR@TB: Yarbrough induces lineout to get out of jam

Diego Castillo pitched a scoreless seventh and Jonny Venters followed suit in the eighth leading to Sergio Romo, who retired the side in the ninth to preserve the win.

"Yarbs did a really nice job of settling in," Cash said. "They challenged him early on. We needed him to get as deep as possible given that the bullpen was pretty taxed going in. So I give Yarbs a lot of credit for being a big part of that win."

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With no outs in the bottom of the seventh, Joey Wendle stepped to the plate with the bases loaded to face John Axford. Wendle swung at the first pitch and hit the ball back to Axford, who fumbled the ball. When he finally got control, he threw home trying to get the forceout, but the throw went wide and Bauers slid safely across for the Rays' sixth run. While Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin chased after the ball, Wilson Ramos chugged home from second to give the Rays a 7-4 lead.

Video: TOR@TB: Rays score pair on error, call stands in 7th

"Ramos can run," Cash said. "He can run when he feels like it."

SOUND SMART
The Rays are 24-1 (.960) when scoring at least five runs this year. And they have not lost a game when scoring eight or more since Sept. 26, 2015, at Toronto, going 53-0 when doing so since.

HE SAID IT
"Every minute of that was fun. We kept making eye contact and you couldn't help but crack a smile." -- Bauers, on playing with Adames

UP NEXT
Ryne Stanek will start Tuesday against the Blue Jays in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Eight of Stanek's last nine appearances have been scoreless. His average fastball velocity this season is 98.3 mph, according to Statcast™. This will be his fourth start of the season. Left-hander Jaime Garcia will start for the Blue Jays.

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Bauers

Bauers looking to stick after debut with Rays

No. 5 prospect makes nice defensive play at first vs. Mariners
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- A palpable buzz could be felt in the Rays' clubhouse prior to Thursday night's 5-4 loss to the Mariners: Jake Bauers has arrived.

Tampa Bay recalled the highly touted prospect from Triple-A Durham, and Brad Miller was designated for assignment.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- A palpable buzz could be felt in the Rays' clubhouse prior to Thursday night's 5-4 loss to the Mariners: Jake Bauers has arrived.

Tampa Bay recalled the highly touted prospect from Triple-A Durham, and Brad Miller was designated for assignment.

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"I don't think it's all fully sunk in yet," Bauers said prior to his debut. "The first time I think it really hit me was when I was on the plane to Tampa from Charlotte. Flew in today. Heart started pounding a little bit. When the pilot said get ready for landing, I kind of said, 'I'm really here.' Hopefully it all becomes a little more real as the day goes on."

Bauers, 22, batted sixth and played first on his first day in The Show, going 0-for-4, but he hit the ball hard three times. He also made a dazzling catch at the railing of the Rays' dugout for the final out of the fifth. Bauers, who is ranked the Rays' No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, stands 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, and he opened eyes with his bat during stints with the Major League club the past two springs.

"He's made quite the impression the past couple of Spring Trainings," manager Kevin Cash said. "When you hear about young players who are performing well in the upper levels, I think the Major League club gets excited. That goes for staff, front office, and then obviously his new teammates here. They've gotten to know him the past two springs. He's a special player.

Video: SEA@TB: Bauers, Cash on Bauers' Major League debut

"We're excited to get him here. Get him acclimated. Don't want to put too much pressure on him, like any young player. But we think it's his time to come up and play first base a lot. ... Overall, it's a good day for the Rays. Any time you're able to bring up good young players and get that transition started, brings a lot of excitement."

Bauers hit .279/.357/.426 with five homers and 24 RBIs through 52 games with Durham. He was acquired from the Padres as part of the Wil Myers trade in 2014. Unlike fellow prospect Willy Adames, who was told upon his callup earlier this season that he would be sent back down, Bauers' arrival sounds like it will be more than a cup of coffee.

"Ideally, from this point forward for him, it's merit based," Rays general manager Erik Neander said. "As long as he's doing his job. Our hope is he's able to run with it and play it out. It's going to be on him. But this is a situation, especially with the decision we made with Brad, to open up an opportunity for him to come here and play. And to learn, to grow, and to try and continue his development at the Major League level."

Video: SEA@TB: Bauers' parents discuss son's MLB debut

Bauers, who hits left-handed, has extraordinary plate discipline along with a knack for barreling the ball with a compact swing. He deflected questions about him representing the future of the franchise.

"Whatever I can do to help the team right now, that's what I'm here to do," Bauers said. "Drive in runs, score runs, move runners. Whatever the case may be. Just anything to help the team win."

The Rays have a core of talented young players who have joined the team this season, or are currently at Durham, including Bauers, Adames, Jaime Schultz, Christian Arroyo, and Diego Castillo. Does Bauers' arrival signal that the time has come to let the kids take a prolonged spin at the Major League level?

"You look at what some of the other teams have done over the past couple of years, they've transitioned to where they had some of that quote, unquote, youth movement," Cash said. "And I think you have to be prepared to let them take their lumps.

"Kind of a roller coaster. The highs and lows. Those are going to be mixed in. In a perfect world, we stay much higher than we get lower. But in all fairness to these guys, everybody who has been here for a certain amount of time has been awarded that opportunity. We shouldn't change it for these guys. Especially when we're talking about 21-, 22-, 23-year-old guys."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Bauers