Arbitration Eligibles: Tampa Bay Rays

A look at the Rays players who will be arbitration-eligible after the season…

Johnson could be non-tendered, if the Rays prefer to try to bring him back on a minor league deal.  He signed a Major League deal in January, but passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment in March.  The Rays may be forced to endure a bullpen makeover for 2011, but non-tendering Cormier still makes sense.  Howell is also a candidate to be cut, if the Rays evaluate him in December and don't feel he'll be ready for Spring Training.  On the other hand, they could retain Howell with little or no raise. 

Navarro, currently toiling at Triple A, figures to be non-tendered.  There's a good chance Aybar is let go as well, as the Rays may not find him worth his $2.2MM club option or the amount he'd get through arbitration.

Those cuts could leave Sonnanstine, Garza, Upton, and Bartlett as the players tendered contracts.  The Rays may have the pitching depth to trade Sonnanstine and/or Garza, but the asking price for the latter should be considerable.  Garza will still be affordable, perhaps at a salary around $6MM.

With Reid Brignac as an option, the Rays could be one of few teams shopping a shortstop in Bartlett.  If tendered a contract, Bartlett will make more than $4MM next year despite an unimpressive 2010 season.  It's possible the Rays try to extract some value in a deal before the December 12th non-tender deadline.  Upton, while not the star hitter we once expected, is worth keeping around.  With Carl Crawford expected to leave, the Rays probably can't spare Upton.

26 Responses to Arbitration Eligibles: Tampa Bay Rays Leave a Reply

  1. Even if the Rays wanna keep CC and Pena, They can barely keep Pena, even if they trade Garza and Shields. BTW Upton is NOT worth keeping around. In 2007 yes but not anymore.

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      lol .. yah you should always give up on 26 year old, former 2nd pick overall, speedy center fielder. great post.

      • Yes… That great 2007 season… Then 3 Years of no hustle-no interest play. I don’t think so

        • buddaley 5 years ago

          Absolutely untrue. Upton plays very hard and is a tremendously hard worker as well. This is the kind of tripe that gets broadcast by talk radio scavengers and becomes “common” knowledge but has no basis in reality beyond an anecdote here and there.

          • BaseballFanatic0707 5 years ago

            Now is this statement relative to before or after Evan had to get in his face about not hustling down a fly ball? Any consideration for when Madden benched him a year ago for not hustling?

            The dude has a history of being lazy.

          • buddaley 5 years ago

            I have to admit that few things get me as angry as unjust accusations, and the crap about Upton is particularly galling. I do not deny he has had incidents, as do most ball players. Did you know Willie Mays was fined for missing a ground ball in the outfield and just loping after it? That is the man who was one of the most dedicated players in history. Oh yes, and he also got into trouble for not running out a high pop fly that was caught in fair territory. So are we then to tar Mays as a malingerer?

            Upton has made mistakes, but he has never made excuses or denied his culpability or made a fuss about his punishments. He was benched last year because he was trying too hard and Maddon wanted him to relax a bit. He has moved up and down the lineup without complaint. (One example of the garbage aired about him was taking a comment he made after losing his leadoff role last year out of context and misinterpreting it. He said the “demotion” was a kick in the head which was immediately seized upon by the radio cretins as an attack on Maddon. In fact, he was saying he had played badly and intended to work to regain his status. But regardless, the inane interpretation was easier to remember and so became the “fact”.)

            Upton is a dedicated and hard working ball player. He is an easy target because his performance, while better than many realize, has not met lofty expectations, and because he is guarded around the media which sometimes comes across as aloof. But he is anything but aloof about his ball playing, and anyone watching regularly and without preconceived notions s/he wants to validate, will recognize that.

        • moonraker45 5 years ago

          He’s been top 5 in the AL in stolen bases the last 3 years.. His average and obp can use improvement, but you still don’t give up on the guy so young. Eventually he’ll run on all cylinders, and you put up with it because he’s still contributing to the team in other ways

  2. CitizenSnips 5 years ago

    I’d love for the Mets to get their hands on Garza but unfortunately I’m aware of what universe I’m living in.

    • bleachercreature 5 years ago

      i’m surprised Garza wasn’t traded to the Rays from the Mets.

  3. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    It’s been a shame to see J.P. Howell injured all season, but I hope he doesn’t get non-tendered. We all saw Jose Arredondo dominate 2008 and thdn had a rough few months in 09 before TJ surgery, he was non-tendered. I hope the same doesn’t happen to J.P. Howell.

  4. ClimaClub 5 years ago

    the window on the rays will close after this season, imo they should have gone all in this season at the deadline, picked up a slugger and reliever. how long can an organization hoard prospects, especially when you cant pay them when they are due.

    • 0bsessions 5 years ago

      I completely disagree. As long as they have Longoria locked up, their window is open. With the way they’ve been developing pitching for a while now, the Rays can basically keep shuffling in cheap, young arms and having Longoria in there solidifying their lineup, they’ll have a shot until he’s gone.

      • buddaley 5 years ago

        I agree. Losing key players like Crawford and Pena will certainly present a challenge, but there remains plenty of talent, much of which is still improving. And this is a smart front office that will likely pick up more useful pieces to keep the Rays competitive for a while.

        • ClimaClub 5 years ago

          thats a fine logic if you play in any other division besides the AL east. with the yankees/sox there teams like rays/jays/orioles have to go the feast or famine route.

          • buddaley 5 years ago

            It is certainly a challenge, but that common argument is flawed in that it focuses entirely on the fact that the Rays have to beat out Boston and NY in a tough division. But each of them has to beat each other and the Rays, so their problem is also magnified in the same way.

            Naturally the financial advantage is a factor, but not a determining one. They have just as hard a row to plow as do the Rays, and with Toronto building a stronger team (and even Baltimore perhaps improving faster than many think) all 5 teams have to overcome long odds to win out.

            Right now, I think the Rays rotation is deeper and more reliable than either Boston’s or NY’s, and think it will remain competitive even should Cliff Lee fall to one of them. Friedman has shown an ability to build effective bullpens and while I don’t think the Rays will be quite as good offensively as the other two, the gap is exaggerated by the media because of more recognizable names like Ortiz, Drew, Jeter, Posada and the like.

            I agree it is not easy for the Rays, but neither is it for the other teams in the division, and while I doubt the Rays can remain a contender every year, I think they can continue to be one for 4 or 5 years at a time. The Rays have not built a team for feast or famine but for more sustained competitiveness.

          • 0bsessions 5 years ago

            This. Even as a Sox fan, I’ve got to say that I fear the Rays long term more than I do the Yankees right now. The Yanks are stacked, but that stacking has them pretty financially and rosterwise locked for a while. With the way the Rays’ farm system is set up, all of their most productive players (Short of Longoria), could be replaced with a quality farm callup.

          • jwredsox 5 years ago

            But the problem with farm call ups is that they are hardly seamless. 95% of players need a year or 2 before being good. Jennings for CC is a clear step down if he has rookie year struggles and who will they have at 1st? And Longoria seems to me to be following Braun’s career path. He has begun sacrificing power for better contact yet Longoria hasn’t hit .300 in a season. As a red sox fan I hope he continues that.

          • buddaley 5 years ago

            If you have followed the Rays you will recognize they have not depended too heavily on farm call-ups, and as a matter of fact have been very conservative about calling them up to play major roles right away.

            Of course, Jennings is unlikely to replace Crawford’s production, and it will be difficult to replace Pena as well as some of the key relievers they will lose. But every team faces similar problems, and while their financial clout makes it simpler for Boston and NY to find adequate or better replacements via free agency, the Rays have also managed to find talent that fits their style of play-which does not rely on a few super talents but more on versatile players with useful strengths.

            It would be silly to claim that the Rays can easily maintain their competitive status, but it is just as foolish to be so confident that their window is very narrow. A team with so much front line pitching talent and excellent defense as well as depth may not appear at first glance to be as talented with superstars as others, but on closer examination it may demonstrate that it is well constructed for a grueling season.

          • jwredsox 5 years ago

            Also you have to take into account that most of their bullpen is going to gone after this season including Soriano who was a huge part of their success this season. I don’t see a bad team but more a team achieving what 2009 Rays did

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      Have you seen their rotation? and hellickson waiting to go next year full time.. I agree that unless the rays add an impact bat that they will remain good not great, but to say the window is closing is totally inaccurate. They will replace CC and replace Pena and with their pitching staff alone will remain competitive for years. Whether or not that translates to a championship will be up to the owners and how much they are willing to invest into a few addition pieces to get them over the hump.

      • jwredsox 5 years ago

        It isn’t reasonable to expect Hellickson to step in and be very good. You’d probably be looking at a Wade Davis type season. Plus Neimann has pitched way over his head this season so it is unreasonable to think he will keep his sub 3 ERA into next year. Plus they will lose CC and Pena and while they have Jennings he won’t put up CC numbers immediately.

        • buddaley 5 years ago

          But you expect Matsuzaka to improve his control and Lackey to halt his decline and Beckett to recover as a consistent ace and that Beltre will re-sign or be adequately replaced and Ortiz will continue to defy age and fat and Martinez to avoid injury and the decay all catchers face and Drew to stay off the disabled list while all that young talent like Reddick and Kalish and Rizzo and others step up?

          You are sure that despite his peripherals saying otherwise that Buchholz will repeat his success, more certain than you are that Niemann will? And that Papelbon or Bard will be lights out in the 9th inning.

          Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I do think the Red Sox are brilliantly run and will continue to contend, but every team has uncertainties and hopes for young players to replace aging or leaving stars. If Hellickson has a Davis type season, I will be thrilled, because I think Davis has demonstrated he is a legitimate major league starter who has the capacity to improve. It is easy to read any team’s future negatively. The Rays may decline rapidly for the reasons you give, but there remains a lot of talent both on and off the field, and a real possibility that they will sustain their success.

          • jwredsox 5 years ago

            Dice-K has pitched well since giving up 19 ERs in his first 4 starts with his shotty command so not sure where that is a huge concern….

            But obviously Lackey and Beckett are a concern but you can’t expect Beckett to keep up a 6 ERA with an FIP around 4.5 which isn’t good but he has still been extremely unlucky. And on the other hand Neimann has an FIP about the same as Beckett except Neimann has been lucky. And no I don’t think Buchholz can keep this up but if you say that then Price has to be in the same boat seeing as Price’s FIP is just a little better than Buchholz’s. So even with those concerns the rotations are pretty equal, only the Sox have Lester who, at the time, is the only one in the two rotations with an ace level FIP.

          • buddaley 5 years ago

            None of this is the issue at hand. There are certainly concerns the Rays have about their near future. I am not interested now in discussing the specifics of the Rays vs. the Red Sox and their prospects. I am simply pointing out that in every case, TB, Boston, NY, it is reasonable to anticipate declines or problems, but it is not clear that TB necessarily has more or more serious problems coming up. For us to get into the nitty gritty of details now is futile. Sure the Rays have bullpen concerns for 2011; they also may have more options to sort it out than any other team, and have demonstrated some skill in that area. And just as Niemann has had some luck, it is also equally possible that someone with his talent and work ethic will improve.

            Your comment on Matsuzaka illustrates the problem. I agree that he might be an immensely talented pitcher. But there is as much evidence that he cannot pitch much past the 5 innings most of the time. For the last 3 years he has walked over 4/9 innings and his K rate has declined. So should I be confident he will not pitch well next year? Well I am not. I think he may be an excellent pitcher. And I am sure you can find plenty of evidence that he will be just that. But for you to be confident about him, or about Niemann or Price underperforming, is fan bias, not analysis.

          • jwredsox 5 years ago

            It isn’t bias. It isn’t bias that Neimann is extremely lucky. It isn’t bias where I admitted that Buchholz wasn’t going to have a sub 3 ERA year next year. Nor is it bias (Seeing as Price and Buchholz have similar FIPs) to say that both are in a similar boat and if you expect some regression from one you should from the other too. And Dice-K is what he is. He is guy who can put up a 4.00 ERA or lower in a good year. He is currently going over 6 innings per start and the Sox can live with that. He has pitched like that since he came here.

          • jwredsox 5 years ago

            And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Rays will be a bad team. I’m just looking at a 2009 year for the 2011 Rays (80-85 wins) Not bad at all but it is hard to get win the division or get WC with that record in the AL East.

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