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The Rays have announced that Neil Solondz, a broadcaster for the Durham Bulls, will be the new pre- and post-game radio voice for the Rays. Solondz is replacing Rich Herrera, who was a polarizing voice that most people seemed to either love or hate.

We haven’t heard too much of Solondz’ work. But based on the reactions we are hearing from Bulls fans, it sounds like a good move for the Rays.

This quote from one Bulls fan seems to sum up the reaction from Durham (via @RTPGiants)…

Nooooooooo….great for Neil; potentially terrible for Bulls fans. Neil is 5000% better than other MILB announcer

You can see a video below of Solondz interviewing Rays prospect Chris Archer.


  • Ken Rosenthal: James Shields “appears out of reach” for the Reds “and every other club.” Rosenthal also notes that the Reds “ideally want better” than Wade Davis. [@Ken_Rosenthal]
  • Matt Moore was recently on “Happy Hour with JP Peterson” to discuss his new contract. Our favorite quote: “I’d love for this to be a bad deal for me.” [TampaBaySportsCentral]
  • Andrew Friedman says Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman are both “very much in the discussion” for 2012…This is just a hunch, but Damon and Kotchman may both be fall-back plans for the Rays. That is, they are going to see how the off-season market unfolds. And if all else fails, they know that both players can probably be had cheap. []
  • Ken Rosenthal notes that the package the A’s received for Trevor Cahill could be an indication of what the Rays might get if Wade Davis is traded. [MLB Buzz]
  • Sarah Tyson has a few things on her Rays wishlist. [Cowbell Clankers]
  • BurGi takes a look at how some of the Rays top prospects are trending in their development. [Rays Prospects]




  1. Joe says:

    I saw Olney mention a possible Wade for Morrison swap? That would be one of the best trades AF ever made IMO and that is saying a lot.

  2. DRR says:

    Neil is fantastic. One of the best in the business. Not just Milb, but anywhere. It is great for him, but he will be missed here in Durham.

    • Devin says:

      Thank God Rich (slurp) Hererra is gone. His awkward pauses to take another nasty slurp of water was about to drive me toward listening to paint dry instead. (see where I went there? Rich wouldn’t.) Good ridance.

  3. Tone says:

    Marlins seem like a better fit than the Reds at this point. For me personally, I could handle having Kotch since he is good defensively(possible platoon with Miranda), but Damon just does not have the power. I think Matsui would be cheaper than Damon and he has better power; Godzilla loves hitting at the Trop.

  4. CC says:

    Trade Wade Davis for Hanley Ramirez.Hanleys pissed and coming off a down year.Shorstop problem solved.Rodrigez to second and Zobrist to first.

  5. G TONES says:

    Heard good things about Solondz. Would have like to have heard someone like Bobby Fenton in some capacity too though, imo.

  6. David says:

    Reds traded the guy we want to San Diego. Sigh.

    • LoLJFH says:

      No, the Reds traded BOTH guys (1B and C) “we” wanted to San Diego for Matt Latos. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME ANDREW!?? The two guys we could have had, that almost every person to a man has been saying on this board, as well as the great Marc Topkin, as the deal we should do, and San Di-freaking-ego puts it together?? For Edison Volquez? The must have asked for Davis AND JP Howell so we backed out. Amazing and terribly disappointing. But hey, we may get Kotch and Caveman back next year on the plus side. (sigh….)

      • Tom says:

        Latos is much better than Davis.

        • LoLJFH says:

          Latos is better than Davis, wouldn’t go “much” better. Not sure he is THAT much better than Volquez but possibly more durable. We could have flipped Davis and a minor leaguer /Torres for them both. That would be a small price for these 2 studs in MAJOR positions we need for long-term. I fear this regime is gonna hold all 8 hostage and lose leverage. I am not really giving them the props they deserve right now, but allegedly they are asking for HIGH value for their pitchers. I would have thought we could’ve gotten a 1-for-1 deal for Alonso at the very least. Maybe they throw in a minor leaguer since Davis has 2 years service under his belt.

          • Tom says:

            K/9 BB/9 ERA
            Latos 8.65 2.83 3.37

          • Tom says:

            They have both pitched about the same number of innings in their career with Latos bettering Davis in K/9 8.65-5.89, BB/9 3.2-2.89 and ERA 4.22-3.37 that is a big difference. Latos is also 2 years younger. Latos does pitch in an extreme pitchers park (although he has pitched as well on the road as he has at home) and in an easier league but I still see the difference between the 2 pitchers as large. The Rays would have needed to give up Shields to get this package, Davis and Torres would not have done it.

          • LoLJFH says:


  7. Tom says:

    The Padres now have 3 pretty decent 1B prospects in Blanks, Rizzo, and Alonzo. I would not be surprised to see the Rays try to flip Davis for one of those guys.

    • Dustin says:

      Interesting thought. I wonder if the Padres would part with Blanks and/or Rizzo (plus APTBNL, presumably) for Davis. Not sure if that’s a good deal for the Rays, but it’s something to think about.

  8. Joe says:

    The GREAT Marc Topkin?!

    I think its a forgone conlcusion that the Rays will be on San Diego’s front door knocking for Rizzo. Problem is, I was looking at Cot’s is that Latos hasn’t to this point allowed any of his arbitration to be bought out. Does San Diego want to ADD salary with Davis, even if he is that affordable? Is simply Davis for Rizzo enough to do it? You probably have to add something if you are SD, so its probably a 2-2 swap or an odd man swap. TB does NOT have a 1B of the future in their system and if they don’t want to go on the open market to get one, go to San Diego NOW and get it done.

    • LoLJFH says:

      Joe – “great” was tongue-in-cheek. I think his articles this morning in STP was regurgitated from over the past week. Weak….

      • Joe says:

        I appreciate good humor, especially when its about that no good sorry, BBWAA-loving lack of excuse of a patsy for ownership we have as a “beat writer”. A “beat writer” who willingly and knowingly takes a side when taking a side is NOT a part of his job description.

        The irony is that the Cubs are also talking about Rizzo and the ultimate irony (or slap in the face) is Garza could be the means to execute the deal. Pena may not be coming back, and Josh Byrnes is a former understudy to both Theo and Jed.

        My thing is simply, the Rays have NOTHING in the system at 1B. If you insert Shields instead of Mat Latos in that trade, does Cincy offer TB the whole house to get him? They got BOTH Volquez (another irony is that Josh Hamilton was used to leverage him) and Alonzo and Cincy’s best catching prospect all go to southern California.

        My big number ONE problem with the Rays being cheap, isn’t just the fact they are cheap, but you can’t groom a stud at EVERY position. Some just don’t work. So, you got to be willing to deal, and yes, you can’t WIN every deal. I remember hearing about Wes Bankston 6 years ago, and besides a handful of games in Oakland, Wes, the Savior was nothing as a big leaguer. 1B should be a thumping big bat, high average, at least 25-30HR power position. Instead we get the Travis Lee’s who are slick fielding or Kotchman, the high average but little to moderate power and Pena who for all the awesome character traits is a human windmill or taking strike 3 too many times.

        I just love that “signature” 1B, that the Rays, if they are going to be FREAKING CHEAP, someone they can get their 5-7 years of SERVICE TIME and ENJOY him. The Rays haven’t seem to got this game down pat yet.

        • Tom says:


          Are you implying A) The Rays should have offered Shields for the list of prospects the Padres received and B) The Reds would have preferred Shields to Latos?

          If the Rays did trade Shields for a package of prospects they would be accused of being cheep and making a salary dump.

          • Joe says:

            We don’t know if Cincinnati thinks Shields = Latos. That’s the problem, Tom. We got a WEAK beat writer who will tell you to go fly a kite.

            I apologize for not answering earlier, didn’t see it. I LOVE that package that Cincy gave to San Diego, and IF this package came along, would Shields have been enough? Too bad we will never know. You got to think the Rays have something comparable to Latos in the system that would have got the same deal. That’s saying something.

          • Joe says:

            If they traded Shields, acquired the SAME package the Reds gave to San Diego and offered a 3 year deal to Beltran and REDEPLOYED the money and/or then some, I wouldn’t have called them cheap.

            If I was the Rays, I would have been involved for Willingham and Cuddyer as you know BJ has one year left and probably won’t be back. I think the Rays love to save money and look smart and look good doing it. That package would be an AWESOME one to get, but now you have to go to a rich prospect organization and now you got to do a multiplayer deal to make things equal

  9. RedBull says:

    I could see a potential big deal between the Rays and Padres…Davis and Niemann to SD for Rizzo, Hundley, and Bartlett…might take us to pry another minor league arm away, but that deal would essentially fill our biggest holes. Sign either Damon or Kubel to be the DH, and then go win the whole thing!

  10. Joe says:

    We may have missed the boat here at 1B. And this goes back to when the final out was made against the Rangers. Where the HECK is the buzz-excitement level in the team?! Where is ANYTHING to create excitement for Spring Training? How can the Rays be allowed to hang their hat for what they have done? An owner who is about to contradict himself in the arbitration process here where either payroll goes up, or someone will leave as payroll is about to swell into the higher 40′s here. What the HECK is it Stu?!

    This is the problem when you don’t market Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus to the fans. Do you see BA or BP at 7-11 in Tampa Rd in Oldsmar or on Linebaugh in Tampa or Gandy Blvd in Pinellas Park?! If Stu wants to sell it, then MARKET it. Our owners and management team seem to get their jollies about manipulating their media buddies they are the smartest guys in the room and love reminding you and I about it, rather than taking care of the people that make them look smart!!! They take care of Topkin and their radio friends and the columnists, but love telling the national folks what kind of “problems” they have and what they CAN’T do, rather what THEY CAN DO!!!!!

    That is why I throw the Anthony Rizzo deal, when they could freaking go William Shatner, name their price on Prince Fielder on ANY length and COMFORTABLY afford him and BE PROFITABLE REGARDLESS of the BS they propagate! And if they can’t get Anthony Rizzo, they truly ARE CHEAP because they do want to WIN every freaking deal and truly want to be the smartest baseball people that ever lived when sometimes in life, there is a subtle thing called give and get.

    • Tom says:

      Are you blaming the Rays ownership for the fact that 7-11 does not carry Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus? I do not understand that.

      • Joe says:

        No :) What I am saying is that is how they want you to think in terms of the club and how they are stocking and developing the talent that we see. I wouldn’t dare blame the Rays about 7-11, but besides USA Today Sports Weekly or Baseball Weekly, you aren’t going to read much going on the farm. And I don’t think the “farm” sells to most casual and even a lot of hardcore major league fans and Rays fans. Recognition is great, over-reliance, not so much :)

  11. Joe says:

    Cork, remember the Andy Marte fiasco when this regime first took over? Marte was a hot shot SS/3B prospect from Atlanta who went to Boston in the Edgar Renteria deal and then flipped to Cleveland in the deal that sent Kelly Shoppach to Cleveland for Coco Crisp. I remember how infatuated Topkin (err Friedman) was in this guy. He didn’t pan out, but dang, it was like Julio Lugo (and he was good at THAT time) was worth Marte 1 for 1 straight up? I remember that, and I think of Andy Marte in how the Rays try to really win everything. Sometimes, it matches up like Young, Pridie and Harris for Garza and Bartlett. It can go neat, but the Rays have this knack of what I think is thinking too highly. And part of that thinking comes WRONGLY about how much money Stu lets Andrew play with, and I think one attitude permeates with the other in regards to prospects and major league salary.

  12. Nathan says:

    I can’t help but think AF waited too long on this one. The Reds gave up a haul for Latos. Hard to believe they wouldn’t have given us the same for Sheilds. Alonso has proven he can hit ML pitching. Grandal is highly regarded. Boxberger even looks like a decent bullpen arm. Then you flip Volquez to someone else for prospects. I know people are bringing up Rizzo as a potential target, but now we’re dealing from a much, much weaker position. San Diego is going to want more than Davis or Neimann. And you know our front office won’t overpay for anyone, so we’re back to Kotchman at first. I agree with Joe, that making the trade for the Reds’ guys would’ve brought at least a bit of excitement to Spring Training and looking forward to the season. I love our pitching, but will be really frustrated to lose a bunch of 3-2 ballgames next year.

  13. Bren says:

    So glad Herrera is gone. Dude was absolutely terrible and more interested in getting drunk than doing anything resembling a pre or post game.

    • Jim says:

      I miss Rich’s lively post-game shows & local appearances. Never saw him drunk or drunk on air. Rich was 100% Rays and loved the team. I wish the new guy luck, but miss Rich as well.

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