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Tampa Bay Rays Look Ahead To Next Season

Dec 1, 2016

Tampa Bay Rays management spoke with the media at Tropicana Field Thursday ahead of Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings, which will be held next week in Maryland. 

Rays management reflected on the season that just finished while also looking toward spring training. 

Erik Neander, vice president of baseball operations, said that while this season wasn't Rays' best, the Rays have a good foundation to work on. 

"We won 68 games. That was a disappointment, but we have a lot of very talented players--a lot of good players," he said. "A lot of players that are in demand naturally as a result of that." 

Rays manager Kevin Cash echoed that sentiment. 

"We didn't do what we were capable of or what we should've been doing last year," he said. "But we still hold a lot of optimism and are very optimistic about our team going forward." 

Cash also said he's still learning how to manage a team with diverse personalities. 

When asked how he feels about his predecessor--Joe Maddon--managing the Cubs during their World Series win, Cash said he was "excited."

"Baseball needed that type of World Series," he said. "I look forward--when the dust settles--for him to sit down and talk with him and go through those experiences with him." 

Next year, unlike previous years, MLB's All Star game will not determine which teams go to the World Series. Matt Silverman, Rays president of Baseball Operations, said that the new rules are better for the sport. 

"It did seem to distort the purity of competition," he said. "It seems a little bit more fair." 

In the next month, the team's management will begin the process of changing their roster by trading and adding players.