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Sunday, Jul 22, 2018
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Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?

So is he.

"I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as the winter meetings opened.

"I think they have made it pretty clear that they want to cut salary, so I guess that leaves me somewhere in limbo. I think I’ve been pretty up front about wanting to be in Tampa (Bay) for my whole career, but I realize that my window is getting smaller to win a championship.

"If they decide to rebuild completely and give everyone up, then I suppose my family and I will adjust.’’

Longoria, 32, is entering the second year of the second long-term, below-market deal he signed with the Rays, due $13.5 million in 2018 and guaranteed $86 million, with a 2023 option pushing the total to $94 million.

Because of the commitment Longoria has made, as well as the leadership role he has, the Rays have previously been reluctant to consider dealing him. But they now seem more likely to do so as they are seeking to cut payroll and considering trading several veterans in taking a step back to rebuild.

An additional factor is that in April, by having 10 years in the majors and at least five with the same team, Longoria will gain no-trade rights, which the Rays refuse to agree to in contracts because it limits their flexibility.

"The reason I don’t have a no-trade clause is for situations like this,’’ Longoria said. "If the team decides that they want to move in a different direction, they can do that.’’

Though Longoria would seem to merit special handling, he said Sunday night that Rays officials had not talked to him about their plans or the situation.

Longoria, who just won his third Gold Glove, would likely be of interest to several teams, including the Angels, Cardinals, Giants and Mets.

Fame for Morris, Trammell

RHP Jack Morris, a three-time 20-game winner, and SS Alan Trammell, a six-time All-Star, were elected to the Hall of Fame on Sunday by the Modern Baseball Era Committee.

Morris and Trammell were chosen among 10 candidates — longtime union leader Marvin Miller plus nine players, including Tampa native and former Dodger great Steve Garvey, who had not been elected during their time on the BBWAA ballot.

Morris pitched 18 seasons for the Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians, posting a 254-186, 3.90 record, making 14 opening day starts, working 200-plus innings 11 times and notching 175 compete games. He pitched for four World Series-winning teams, most notably throwing 10 shutout innings for the Twins against the Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 classic.

Trammell spent his entire 20-year career with the Tigers, winning four Gold Glove and three Silver Slugger awards plus MVP honors in the 1984 World Series. He posted a .285 career average, totaling 2,365 hits.

Getting some relief

The Rays are on both sides of the relief market, likely to trade closer Alex Colome sooner than later and eventually looking to add some veterans to their bullpen.

There was some action Sunday in that area as two of the teams reported to have interest in Colome found help elsewhere, the Cubs agreeing with RHP Brandon Morrow on a two-year deal for around $20 million and the Cardinals with RHP Luke Gregerson for two years, $11 million. Both teams could still have interest in Colome, whose 84 saves over the past two seasons are most in the AL and who is projected to make $5.5 million in the first of three arbitration seasons.

Miscellany

• The Yankees today will formally announce the acquisition of slugging OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins.

• Calvary Christian High junior pitcher Braden Halladay, the son of former star pitcher Roy Halladay, who was killed last month in a plane crash, announced he has committed to Penn State in 2019.

• Astros ace LHP Dallas Keuchel switched agents, signing on with powerful Scott Boras.

 
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