Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

U.S Team starting pitcher Brent Honeywell (21) after the top of the second inning of the All-Star Futures Game between The U.S. Team and the World Team at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Sunday, July 9, 2017.

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after his solo home run, his 20th for the season, in the fifth inning of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how...
Published: 11/18/17

Rays give Rocco Baldelli new title of major-league field coordinator

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed the new look of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli a newly created title — major-league field coordinator.Baldelli, who had been first-base coach the past three years, now will implement ideas and...
Published: 11/17/17
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred delivers remarks during a news conference at the annual MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to...
Published: 11/16/17
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) watches the video board as he's honored before receiving the Paul C. Smith Champion award from the BWAA before of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday,...
Published: 11/16/17
Rays manager Joe Maddon, left, takes the ball from Alex Cobb in the seventh inning of the AL wild-card baseball game against the Cleveland Indians on Oct. 2, 2013, in Cleveland. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak]

As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

Presuming Alex Cobb declines the Rays’ one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer by 5 p.m.
Published: 11/16/17
LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
Aerial view looking to the Southwest of the proposed baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa.  [Thursday October 26, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]

Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday that the team is "genuinely excited" about the proposed Ybor City site for a new stadium and more than "cautiously optimistic" the project can be...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Rays journal: No big deals at GM meetings, but possible groundwork laid

By MARC TOPKINLAKE BUENA VISTA — Rays officials left the GM meetings without making any big deals — such as trading Alex Colome or Chris Archer to the Cardinals — but more knowledgeable about the possibilities. "Expectations were to...
Published: 11/15/17
Brandy Halladay becomes emotional as she talks about her late husband, Roy, during a public memorial service Tuesday in Clearwater. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

For his wife, Brandy, Roy Halladay was so much more than a standout pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.During a a celebration of life ceremony Tuesday at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Brandy remembered Halladay — who...
Published: 11/15/17
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) heads for the dugout after the top of the first inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.

Teams’ interest makes it likely Alex Cobb will reject Rays’ qualifying offer

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Alex Cobb has heard enough good things from potential new teams that it seems fairly certain he will be saying goodbye to his old one.Agent Dan Horwits said there have been "a lot of teams" interested in the veteran...
Published: 11/14/17