Joe Maddon sat in front of a throng of reporters at this weeks Major League Baseball Winter Meetings and addressed a wide array of topics.
Of course, the immediate topic of conversation was the possible trade of lefty David Price. “It’s never a good thought to lose a player like that – the potential thought to lose a player like that.” Maddon said. “We went through the same thing last year with James, I mean James Shields was the same kind of a pitcher and the same kind of player within that clubhouse and locker room.”
Maddon was honest as to the impact that losing a pitcher the caliber of David Price would have on the Rays as “the word devastating in a sense, but we have to recover from those kind of moments if it does actually occur. Probably less likely in the course of the season probably nevertheless it could happen.”
As for the roster creation Maddon said that after spending the first two spring training’s with the Rays talking about how nice it would be to have at least a 90% team returning to camp and he feels that the team is nearly there now. As for how the lineup will shake out he really hasn’t given it much thought saying that he really shuts it down in the offseason. “I’m not the guy who sits around writing lineups all winter because we change it every night anyways. So why even expend all the brain cells anyways.”
Maddon will allow the though of how it how things may have been different if the organization would have held on to the players lost like the Yankees did beginning in around 1995 creep into his mind for a second but it just not real.
As for the bullpen construction Maddon will not commit on who will be the closer saying, “we’ll find that out come spring training.” He mentions Heath Bell, Juan Carlos Oviedo, Joel Peralta, and Jake McGee as candidates.
Joe discussed whether or not the first base position could be filled by Ben Zobrist if another player doesn’t emerge. “Probably not, he doesn’t really like first base. To do that would be stretching him to a spot. He’s already so good at second base and outfield in right field and at shortstop. Of course he’d play there if we wanted him to in an emergency but I don’t think it’s something we really want to look into.”
When asked if he had a guy who could step up and fill the hole created by losing the leadership of David Price on the pitching staff Maddon mentioned Alex Cobb as a possible choice. “He is the type of guy who could eventually be that type of player on a team based on his tenacity, his work ethic, and his performance.”
Maddon said the intangible that drives the Rays is chemistry which he is a huge believer in.