Rays Decline Options On Aybar, Wheeler

The Rays have declined their 2011 options on utilityman Willy Aybar and reliever Dan Wheeler, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. 

Aybar's option was worth $2.2MM, and he will instead receive a $275K buyout from the Rays.  As Topkin points out, Aybar is still under team control and has two more years of arbitration as a Super Two player.  In three seasons in Tampa Bay, Aybar has a .715 OPS in 1007 plate appearances.  He's filled in at first, second and third, though the vast majority of his plate appearances last year were as a DH or pinch-hitter.

Wheeler will receive a $1MM buyout of his $4MM 2011 option.  The right-hander has pitched very well over the last three seasons in Tampa Bay (203 appearances, 3.24 ERA, 3.06 K/BB ratio, 7.5 K/9) but a set-up man earning $4MM is a luxury for a team that's planning to cut payroll.  Wheeler is also a Type A free agent and thus if he turns down arbitration from the Rays and signs elsewhere, Tampa Bay will receive two high draft picks.

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