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Bucs add Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes to make defense better

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On Thursday, the Bucs tried to refortify their running game. On Friday, they addressed their defense. The Tampa Bay Bucs, who struggled to stop the pass all of 2015, took two steps to get better in free agency. They signed former Giants’ defensive end Robert Ayers and former Dolphins’ cornerback Brent Grimes. “Robert is a versatile pass rusher who can play a variety of positions along the defensive line and has been successful both from the interior as well as…

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For now, Rays should pass on shortstop Ian Desmond

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On another team, in another town, Ian Desmond might make perfect sense. Here, it makes none. Oh, you can see the temptation. Why, he’s a veteran shortstop, and the Rays could certainly use one of those rather than bet all of their chips on Brad Miller. The Rays are a team about bargains, and these days, Desmond seems like one of those. They also value run prevention, and Desmond would help save a few of those. So why shouldn’t the…

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Baseball’s Wal-Mart now open for business

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On Wednesday, pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training camps. The Rays are among the last to begin, their players not arriving in Port Charlotte until Feb. 21. Baseball is in the pre-spring training period where clubs often intensify their efforts to sign free agents and fill out rosters. Signings might consist of middle relief pitchers, a fourth or fifth starter, or perhaps an infielder or outfielder who adds depth to their bench. The blockbuster signings are already completed…

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Rays think free agent Steve Pearce can bounce back in ’16

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The latest free agent acquisition of the Tampa Bay Rays follows a familiar theme: buy low, sell high. The Rays have agreed to terms with ex-Baltimore outfielder Steve Pearce, who struggled through his most recent season but showed upside before that. Pearce hit only .218 last season, and his OPS and his power numbers slid. But the Rays think they can use Pearce in the outfield, at first base and as a designated hitter. Last year, Pearce’s doubles fell from…

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Red Sox make former Rays’ pitcher David Price a wealthy man

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Would you pay a million dollars a start for David Price? The Boston Red Sox would, evidently. The Red Sox just signed free agent Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract, which translates into $31 million a year. Price has started 93 games over the last three seasons, which would make his pay roughly $1 million per start. It’s a lot of money for a lot of fastballs. Over those three years, Price has won 43 games in the regular…

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Lightning add depth by signing free agent Erik Condra

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The Tampa Bay Lightning dipped into the NHL free agent pool Wednesday, signing former Ottawa Senator Erik Condra to help with its depth. Condra is expected to take the place of free agent Brendan Morrow on the Lightning. Condra had nine goals and 14 assists in 68 games for Ottawa. The addition is expected to be the only one for the Lightning, the NHL runner-up, which will return with a mostly set lineup. General manager Steve Yzerman has said that…

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