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Want to be a manager? Maybe the key is that Rays connection

Dave Martinez was most recently the Cubs bench coach.

Times files

Dave Martinez was most recently the Cubs bench coach.

The Rays are most known around baseball for their impressive resume in developing young pitchers. But - albeit with no more the coincidental connection - they've suddenly turned out to be a source of managers.

Three managers hired in the last week all have ties to the Rays:

Mickey Callaway, hired by the Mets, was drafted (in 1996), developed by and debuted as a player for the Devil Rays in 1999 and stuck around through 2001.

Dave Martinez, hired by the Nationals, played for the inaugural Rays team in 1998 through a 2000 trade, then came back as a part- and then full-time coach, serving as bench coach from 2008-14.

Gabe Kapler, reportedly about to be hired by the Phillies, finished his big-league career playing for the Rays in 2009-10 and did some front-office work for them before eventually joining former Rays boss Andrew Friedman in Los Angeles.

(That's in addition, of course, to former Rays manager Joe Maddon being with the Cubs, and Kevin Cash, who played for the Devil Rays before being hired as their manager.) …

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Bar help needed? He has good hands and is quick ...

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier tweeted on Friday that he was looking for work as a bartender.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier tweeted on Friday that he was looking for work as a bartender.

UPDATED: Kiermaier got his shot, tweeting late Friday:

Thanks Soho Saloon for lettin me do my thing behind the bar tonight!! It started out rough but i redeemed myself and had a blast! #showtime

DEVELOPING: It has the look of a Halloween trick, but Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier tweeted Friday that he's looking to kill some free time working behind a bar:

Dear Tampa bars,

I am currently laid off from my normal day job. I wanna work for free n stay busy n ppl watch lol Lemme help bartend!!

The two-time Gold Glove winner then added a few minutes later on his @KKiermaier39 account:

Im available tonight for an extra set of hands..i cant make a martini but i sure can pour a beer! Haha put me to work!

 

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Former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey joins Cubs

Former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey found a new job in an expected place, joining former boss Joe Maddon with the Chicago Cubs.

After 11 years with the Rays, Hickey left unexpectedly after the season by what the team said was by mutual decision, and was quickly replaced by Triple-A coach Kyle Snyder. At the time, Hickey said he was not totally on board with the philosophy as the Rays plan to focus on young pitchers.

With the Cubs, Hickey, a Chicago area native, will join a veteran team that has reached the NLCS three straight years, and be reunited with his old boss.

 

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Rays Alex Cobb, Evan Longoria named finalists for Gold Gloves

Alex Cobb chases down a grounder by the Texas Rangers' Nomar Mazara in July at Tropicana Field.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Alex Cobb chases down a grounder by the Texas Rangers' Nomar Mazara in July at Tropicana Field.

Rays RHP Alex Cobb and 3B Evan Longoria were named finalists today for AL Gold Glove awards.

Three finalists are named at each position.

Cobb is competing against Boston's Chris Sale and Toronto's Marcus Stroman.

"It really means a lot to be recognized for something I take so much pride in,'' Cobb said. "I've always considered fielding my position a major part of being a complete pitcher. Thank you to all the managers and coaches who voted for me. "

Longoria is competing against Baltimore's Manny Machado and Cleveland's Jose Ramirez.

Longoria won the award twice previously, during 2009 and 2010 All-Star seasons.

I''ve always said that even when I struggle offensively I want my defense to help the team,'' Longoria said."Being nominated is nice. For the last 10 years I've had (former bench coach) Tom Foley hitting fungos to me and I owe a lot of the growing that I've done to him. I'm sad to see him go but wish him the best. I'll have to find a new fungo guy!''

Winners will be announced Nov. 9

Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier, who won the last two years, was ineligible this year due to time missed because of injury, as there is a minimum innings requirement during the team's first 138 games. …

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Matt Silverman shifting back to broader role with Rays as likely co-president

Tampa Bay Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman takes in the action during the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman takes in the action during the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

Three years after taking over as head of baseball operations, Matt Silverman is shifting back to a broader role with the Rays where he will function essentially as co-president with Brian Auld, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

Specifics of the move, including titles, are still being worked out, and no announcement is expected until next week at the soonest. Team officials declined comment on Wednesday.

The move is not totally unexpected, as Silverman last year ceded daily responsibility of running the baseball side to senior vice presidents Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom and said then he planned to focus on longer-term and bigger picture issues, and hinted there eventually would be a further "evolution" of duties.

Silverman, 41, along with principal owner Stuart Sternberg, are pleased with the overall work of Neander, who also has the title of general manager, and Bloom, and their staff, even though the team has had three consecutive losing seasons on their watch.

Silverman's shift back to the administrative side comes at a critical time for the organization, headlined by the decade-long effort to find a new stadium, which now seems to be progressing with news Tuesday of Hillsborough County selecting a site. The team also is facing other major issues including negotiating for a new television deal and/or looking into forming its own network.

Duties and responsibilities are expected to be shared, and co-managed, by Auld and Silverman, with both having a role in handling the major issues. Auld has been primarily the lead executive  on the stadium issue of late, joined by senior VP Melanie Lenz.

Silverman first joined the organization in May 2004 and was appointed team president when Sternberg took over in October 2005, then moved to president of baseball operations in October 2014 after Andrew Friedman left to take over the Dodgers.

Silverman oversaw the hiring of Kevin Cash to replaced departed manager Joe Maddon and a series of trades that helped rebuild the farm system into one of the game's best, as well as the promotions of Neander and Bloom.

Auld, 40, joined the Rays in May 2005, starting as director of planning and development and overseeing several business-side departments, with a major focus on corporate culture and community involvement.

Neander, 34, has been with the Rays for 11 seasons, starting as an intern in January 2007. Bloom, 34, has been aboard for 12, also working his way up from intern. …

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5 things to know about new Rays 3B coach Matt Quatraro

Matt Quatraro is the Rays' new third base coach.

Tampa Bay Rays

Matt Quatraro is the Rays' new third base coach.

Five things to know about new Rays 3B coach Matt Quatraro, who was hired Tuesday away from the Indians, where he had been the assistant hitting coach the last four seasons:


* Quatraro becomes the sixth third base coach in Rays franchise history, following:
Greg Riddoch, 1998-99
Billy Hatcher, 2000-01
Terry Collins, 2001
Tom Foley, 2002-14
Charlie Montoyo, 2015-17 …

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Rays look to past in hiring new 3B coach Matt Quatraro, shift Rocco Baldelli off 1B

Matt Quatraro

Times files (2003)

Matt Quatraro

The Rays turned to the past in hiring their new third-base coach, naming former minor-league player, coach and manager Matt Quatraro to the staff.

The Rays also announced plans to shift Rocco Baldelli from his first-base coaching job to the dugout, with plans to hire a first base coach who will serve as the assistant hitting coach.

Quatraro (kwuh-TRAH-roe), 43, has spent the last four years as the assistant hitting coach with the Indians, where Rays manager Kevin Cash was on staff in 2013-14.

Before that Quatraro had spent his full career with the Tampa Bay organization, an eighth-round pick in the the 1996 draft who played seven seasons in the minors, reaching Triple-A Durham in 2002, then starting coaching in 2004

. He has managed - and thus coached third - for four minor-league seasons, going  196-228 (.462) with Class-A Bowling Green (2009), Class-A Columbus (2008) and Short-A Hudson Valley (2006-07).

Baldelli will continue to work with the outfielders and on defense alignments during the game, and also serve as a liasion with the front office and minor-league staffs.

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Rays release reporting dates for pitchers and catchers, home spring training schedule

Kevin Kiermaier, left, congratulates Corey Dickerson, right, after Dickerson homered during a spring training game against the Yankees in March.

CHRIS URSO | Times

Kevin Kiermaier, left, congratulates Corey Dickerson, right, after Dickerson homered during a spring training game against the Yankees in March.

The Rays are getting an early start on spring training, releasing reporting dates for pitchers and catchers as well as the home portion of their exhibition schedule on Monday.

While deposits are being accepted for season tickets ($100 per seat), single-game ticket sales won't begin until January 12. For more information, see raysbaseball.com/spring or call 888-FAN-RAYS.

The Rays will play 14 games at the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, and a 15th at Tropicana Field on March 27 vs. the Tigers. They open the regular season on March 29 at home against Boston.

Spring workouts will start Feb. 14 for pitchers and catchers, and Feb. 19 for the full squad under manager Kevin Cash.

The full schedule will be released at a later date and is subject to change, but several other teams have also released their home schedule. …

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Arbitration projections for Rays have some surprises

Closer Alex Colome, who made $547,900 this past season, has a predicted arbitration salary of $5.5-million.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Closer Alex Colome, who made $547,900 this past season, has a predicted arbitration salary of $5.5-million.

Estimating the salaries for arbitration eligible players is a key part of the budgeting process for the Rays and other teams, and a tricky one since many aren't settled until January and ones that go to a hearing not until February. …

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Rays keep Rule 5 pick Kevin Gadea in system, outright him to Durham

The Rays now have Kevin Gadea free and clear in their minor-league system for 2018.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The Rays now have Kevin Gadea free and clear in their minor-league system for 2018.

Remember Kevin Gadea, the young right-hander the Rays took from Seattle in the December Rule 5 draft and were excited about in spring training before he was shut down with forearm issues?

He didn't pitch in any games this season, though he still could end up helping the Rays in the future.

Though players who spent most or all of the season on the DL are subject to Rule 5 restrictions in the next season, the Rays now have Gadea free and clear in their minor-league system for 2018.

That's because they offered him back to the Mariners, who declined, and then got him through waivers. Thus they were able to then reinstate him from the 60-day DL on Sunday and outright him off their 40-man roster and to their Triple-A Durham roster. …

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PETA renews call for Rays to remove touch tank at Trop

PETA has renewed its call for the Rays to remove the touch tank that holds sting rays at the Trop.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

PETA has renewed its call for the Rays to remove the touch tank that holds sting rays at the Trop.

PETA has renewed its call for the Rays to remove the touch tank that holds sting rays at the Trop as well as from a planned new stadium.

PETA took a shot at the Rays majors-worst attendance, the press release accompanying the letter starting with "As the Tampa Bay Rays wrap up yet another season with the lowest game attendance in Major League Baseball."

The gist of the complaint by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is that the rays are at risk of being hit by baseballs and also "are exposed to constant reverberations from boisterous crowds and handling by many different people at once.'' …

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Charlie Montoyo, Kyle Snyder excited about promotions with Rays

Charlie Montoyo will move from the third-base coaching job he had for three seasons to become bench coach.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Charlie Montoyo will move from the third-base coaching job he had for three seasons to become bench coach.

While the departures of longtime coaches Tom Foley and Jim Hickey still seem jarring, Charlie Montoyo and Kyle Snyder are excited about the opportunity to replace them. …

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Rays pitchers react to the departure of Jim Hickey

Said Alex Cobb: "I'm not going to try to explain how great Jim Hickey is. There's really nothing I can say that would speak louder than his track record."

[WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]

Said Alex Cobb: "I'm not going to try to explain how great Jim Hickey is. There's really nothing I can say that would speak louder than his track record."

Rays pitchers were shocked to hear of pitching coach Jim Hickey's departure and heaped praise on him:

Chris Archer:
"Hickey is one of the most intellectual people I know. He's also one of the best people persons I know. The combination of his ability to analyze and apply information, as well as communicate to his players is what causes him to enhance pitchers careers, young and old. From him helping me prepare prior to every major league start I've made to our wide-ranging chats after practice, on the plane, over a meal, I'm going to miss many, many things about Hickey and his influence on our organization.''

Alex Cobb:
"I'm not going to try to explain how great Jim Hickey is. There's really nothing I can say that would speak louder than his track record. All I can say is how fortunate I was to have him when I got to the big leagues. No one could have prepared me better. He has a talent that most organizations search for relentlessly. He will have a great time being a free agent.'' …

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Jim Hickey won't be back as Rays pitching coach, Kyle Snyder to take over

Jim Hickey had been with the Rays for 11 seasons and was considered to be one of the best pitching coaches in the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jim Hickey had been with the Rays for 11 seasons and was considered to be one of the best pitching coaches in the game.

UPDATE, 7:49: Cash and Neander both expressed appreciation and gratitude to all three departing coaches - Foley, Hickey, Nelson.

Cash provided some specifics while praising Foley on makign the move:
"We felt for our current major-league club, I felt a change - with his conversation - was in order and felt Charlie Montoyo as our connection has evolved over the last couple seasons, greatly this year, with his experience as a manager would really be an assest going forward with the in-game decision-making and thoughts that come up. We all know that the game moves quick and you can try to map out decisions as best as all of our capabilites, but things adjust. And I felt that Charlie was really, really good at seeing things before they happen, and providing that heads-up in game will be very beneficial going forward.''


He said Foley will remain "very, very much involved" with big-league team and will mentor Cash, staff and players.

 

 

 

UPDATE, 5:57: The Rays have formally announced the moves.

Here is a statement from manager Kevin Cash in the release: …

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Video: Rays head into what looks to be busy offseason

Rays officials talked Monday about starting the process of mapping out their offseason plans, trying to find a way to improve from the 80-win mark. Here is our video report, produced by Will Vragovic:

 

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