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Kiermaier: “I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere Else”

Rays putfielder Kevin Kiermaier

The Tampa Bay Rays held their first full squad workout of the 2021 spring Tuesday at their facility in Port Charlotte, and unlike most years, where manager Kevin Cash and various players would speak, the chatter was kept to a minimum.

“I usually have said things over the past,” outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said.  “This year, we’re spread out, talking over a microphone.  It’s not where we’re in a confined space, where things are a lot easier to step up and say something as a player.  Our guys, we know what we need to do.  We’re ready to go.  We’re ready to work.  We’re ready to do what we have to do to win as a team as much as possible.  So I felt like there was no need to say anything.”

The 30-year-old centerfielder, who will come into the 2021 season as the team’s highest paid player, heard the rumors during the offseason regarding potential trades involving him, and saw pitcher Blake Snell get traded to San Diego, but said he left it to others to deal with the outside issues for the most part.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” Kiermaier said.  “I don’t want to be anywhere else, and I know how the business side of things works.  Seeing my name in trade speculation felt more real than ever.

“But I got this on my chest,” he continued, tapping the Rays logo on his shirt. “So I’m a happy man, and I’m all smiles.”

But now it’s all about trying to return to the World Series for a second consecutive year.

“Coming up short like that is going to give you that drive and motivation,” Kiermaier explained.  “We wanted to finish it the right way, which we didn’t accomplish. Now it’s just trying to figure out what we can do to get better as a team and get back to that situation and come out on top. We have a team that’s very capable of doing that, and that’s why it’s a very exciting time to be a Tampa Bay Ray.”

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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