BY: John Mamola / 620wdae.com
Atlanta Braves centerfielder BJ Upton spent eight full seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays before signing a five year deal with the Braves just over a year ago. The first year of the marriage with Upton and the Braves didn’t go too kindly as Upton set career lows in nearly all offensive categories. However Upton returned to the Tampa Bay area on Friday morning as a surprise guest at the annual Ron Diaz Christmas Classic, and reflected on his days as a Tampa Bay Rays.
“(Tampa) is a great place, a great place to be. They (Rays) gave the opportunity to start a career and I have nothing bad to say about them” said Upton. “Unfortunately it’s a business and sometimes people have to part ways, but I have nothing bad to say about them and wish them nothing but the best.”
Upton shared some stories of his time with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who co-hosted with WDAE’s Ron Diaz from the golf tournament. Upton also reflected on his time with Rays manager Joe Maddon.
“Joe Maddon is the ultimate players’ coach” said Upton. “I definitely miss him, obviously we bumped heads a couple of times I think everyone knows. We talked about it, and that’s definitely in our past but I’m cool with Joe, I like Joe a lot. I think he’s definitely good for young players, and he makes you want to play the game and you have fun doing it. Sometimes you get caught up in this being a job and lose the fun in it, and Joe keeps it fun.”
photo credit: Getty Images
Joe Maddon gives his take on baseball's Winter Meetings and Thanksmas.
by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
Our coverage of the winter meetings continued Thursday, as manager Joe Maddon stopped in to talk with Ian Beckles regarding what his role is in the meetings.
"If there's any input that I may have it will be entirely on the Major League side , players that I've seen," Maddon told Ian this morning. "It's really an interesting process. It's too bad the fans can't go through something like that, and be privy to all of that, because it is very interesting."
Hear what he thinks about the meetings, as well as his Thanksmas tradition that starts this Friday!
Our full-throttled coverage of the Winter Meetings comes to a head Thursday night at 7 with the Special Countdown to Opening Day Show hosted by play-by-play men Andy Freed and Dave Wills.
In advance of that both Andy and Dave were on WDAE Thursday morning along with TV play-by-play voice DeWayne Staats.
Andy joined the Sports Page. If you missed it here is that conversation.
And this is what Ian and Dave had to say.
Finally DeWayne joined the show lakeside at the meetings.
By Darek Sharp / 620wdae.com
It was almost as if the Seattle Mariners wanted to press the issue on a trade for David Price.
Wednesday night Seattle didn't just grab one of the Rays' potential first base candidates, the Mariners got two of them.
First Seattle landed Corey Hart on a one-year contract worth $6 million but potentially worth double that with incentives. Seattle as well traded for Florida's Logan Morrison.
Read our friend Marc Topkin HERE for what impact this may have on Tampa Bay, including the freeing up of Justin Smoak who the Rays might like as well.
BY: John Mamola / 620wdae.com
The David Price watch continues to rule MLB's winter meetings being held in Lake Buena Vista, FL. The latest tidbit on the future of the Rays' ace coming from FOX Sports MLB insider Ken Rosenthal who spoke to David Price's agent Bo McKinnins about any possible extension if the Rays do indeed trade Price to another team.
Just saw David Price's agent, Bo McKinnis, in lobby. Asked if Price would consider extension with #Mariners. Said no. MORE— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
Asked McKinnis if Price would consider extensions with other teams. Said yes. Asked which clubs. He declined to answer.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
McKinnis' comments do not rule out a Price trade to #Mariners. Price under club control two more years. M's would have him for that long.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
Stay tuned for all the latest on the Rays and the Winter Meetings with updates five times a day through Friday. Catch a special editon of Rays Countdown To Opening Day Thursday night at 7pm live from the site of the Winter Meetings with Dave Wills, Andy Freed and Neil Solondz.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Tampa Bay Rays Press Release) — Rays Manager Joe Maddon will host Thanksmas for the eighth consecutive year at Salvation Army Shelters in St. Petersburg,
Thanksmas begins Friday, December 13 when Maddon hosts his Third Annual Thanksmas Fundraiser at 717 South in
As he does for every Thanksmas, Maddon will prepare a traditional Italian/Polish holiday feast for hundreds of needy citizens in the
Following Thanksmas, Maddon will return to his
On December 20, Maddon will be joined by four-time 20-game winner Luis Tiant, Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar, former Phillies manager and shortstop Larry Bowa, Tigers bullpen coach Mickey Billmeyer and
Maddon’s upcoming schedule:
Date Time Location
Friday, December Fundraiser at 717 South Restaurant (
Saturday, December 14 - Shopping for food, Sam’s Club,
Sunday, December 15 - Food preparation with Joe Maddon at Tropicana Field
Monday, December Serve at Sallie House,
Tuesday, December 17 - Serve at
Wednesday, December Serve at Homeless Emergency Project (1120
Thursday, December 19 - Press Conference,
Friday, December Celebrity Dinner/Auction, Genetti's Best Western in
Saturday, December Maddon Family Christmas, Alice C. Wiltsie Performing
By Dory LeBlanc
It is now Day 2 of the MLB Winter Meetings, and WDAE continues to bring you the best local coverage and insight of the Tampa Bay Rays' offseason.
Tuesday morning, Rays Radio Pre/Post-game host Neil Solondz joined Tom Jones and Rick Stroud on The Sports Page to talk about what is on the horizon for the Rays and David Price talks. When asked if he felt Price would be a member of the club on opening day, Solondz leaned towards the 2012 Cy Young Winner being gone, but left a little room for the possibility Price remains the Rays' ace.
"If I'm a betting man, I go 60/40 no, but at the same time I don't think they're going to trade him just to trade him," Solondz said. "You can connect a couple dots yesterday when Andrew Friedman said, 'we don't expect to go to market for another starting pitcher like we did with Roberto Hernandez,' so that means if they trade David Price, to have the proper starting pitching depth, then they need to get a Major League-ready starting pitcher in return. So, if they don't get that then I don't think they deal him."
To listen to the segment with Solondz in its entirety, click the player below:
Next, Freed jumped on with Ron Diaz on The Ron and Ian Show and took a slight hiatus from the Price talk to discuss with Diaz the catching situation and got very passionate when it came to the reasons why the Rays should keep first baseman James Loney.
"(If) you think about what the Rays paid Carlos Pena during a decent chunk of time, I think it was 3 years/$27 million, I don't know if the Rays go that high for Loney," Freed said. "But I'll tell you what, he becomes very valuable for this team for his left-handed bat and what he does in the field. He is fabulous in the field. The Rays have been so blessed with defensive first basemen, but he is absolutely fantastic. And I really learned throughout the year he really has a fire to him. We had asked someone with the Red Sox, you know, he was with them for a short amount of time two years ago, and we asked, 'So, what do you think of Loney?' And they said, 'Oh, he's passionateless.' I mean, okay, he's kind of a quiet guy, but oh my goodness when you're around him, he has an absolute very strong will to win, he is not a passionless player; he's a very passionate player in fact."
Freed goes on to say that Loney is as good a defensive first baseman as you will find and that he would very much like to see Loney stay in Tampa Bay.
To hear everything Freed had to say Tuesday, click the player below: