The Rays are next in our Offseason In Review series.
Major League Signings
Notable Minor League Signings
- Joaquin Benoit, Ryan Shealy, Winston Abreu, Jeff Bennett, Heath Phillips, R.J. Swindle, Alvin Colina, Angel Chavez, Joe Dillon, J.J. Furmaniak, Chris Richard, Carlos Hernandez, Matt Bush, Stepan Havlicek
Trades and Claims
- Acquired RP Jesse Chavez from Pirates for 2B Akinori Iwamura
- Acquired C Kelly Shoppach and cash from Indians for P Mitch Talbot
- Traded Rule 5 pick P Armando Zerpa to Dodgers for cash
- Acquired RP Rafael Soriano from Braves for RP Jesse Chavez
- Claimed RP Mike Ekstrom off waivers from Padres
- Kelly Shoppach, C: two years, $5.55MM. Includes $3.2MM club option for '12 with a $300K buyout.
- Jesse Chavez, Akinori Iwamura, Mitch Talbot, Armando Zerpa, Ramon A. Ramirez, Gabe Gross, Michel Hernandez, Gregg Zaun, Shawn Riggans, Joe Nelson, Brian Shouse, Russ Springer, Troy Percival, Chad Bradford, Jason Isringhausen
The Rays did very little in free agency, taking flyers on guys like Johnson and Benoit. Instead, executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman upgraded his catcher and closer situations by importing Shoppach and Soriano via trade. Shoppach will be paired with Dioner Navarro behind the plate, who the Rays were able to retain without giving a raise. The Soriano acquisition was surprising, as he'll be paid $7.25MM in 2010.
As is, the Rays have a lineup that could reasonably top 800 runs again. Right field and DH remain two potential areas to upgrade. Top prospect Desmond Jennings could provide a midseason outfield boost, while Friedman has made efforts this winter to improve upon Burrell. The Rays could still bench Burrell and sign Russell Branyan or Jermaine Dye, a change that could add a crucial win or two.
Despite trading Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, and Scott Kazmir in the last year or so, the Rays maintain excellent rotation depth. Projection systems probably sell their #3-5 starters short, as Jeff Niemann, David Price, and Wade Davis have the stuff to beat CHONE's 4.60ish ERA predictions.
With payroll headed back down in 2011, this is an important year for the Rays to strike. They've got the talent to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, and will hopefully stretch even further if midseason additions can help them eke out a few extra wins.