2012 Contract Issues: Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.  Here's what the team faces after the 2011 season:

Eligible For Free Agency (4)

Contract Options (3)

  • James Shields: $7MM club option with a $2MM buyout.  Otherwise arbitration eligible.  This seems like it will be an easy choice to exercise.  Shields is under control through 2014, and if he becomes available this summer or winter the Rays could get a nice bounty.  We're getting ahead of ourselves, though – the team is only three games back in the AL East.
  • Kelly Shoppach: $3.2MM club option with a $300K buyout.  Shoppach hasn't done much hitting in his Rays career, so this is a tough call.  One factor to consider is the progress of catching prospect Robinson Chirinos.
  • Kyle Farnsworth: $3.3MM club option with a $650K buyout.  He's gotten the job done so far, and this option will merit consideration.

Arbitration Eligible (7)

Price is primed for a record-setting salary for a first-time arbitration eligible starting pitcher, say around $5.5MM.  Niemann could get $3MM, though the Rays could trade him as early as this summer even if they are contending.  Upton's price will be held down by his unspectacular offense, but he could get $7MM or more and is also a trade candidate.  There is some uncertainty with the other pitchers but for the sake of argument if everyone besides Johnson is retained the total bill could be around $21MM.

2012 Payroll Obligation

The Rays' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is $13MM excluding buyouts.  However we could tack on as much as $35MM if the three options are exercised and the arbitration eligibles are retained.  That'd have the club $6MM over this year's payroll, which was reduced drastically from years prior.  There are many moving parts here, and given their current big league talent and highly-regarded farm system, the Rays should find a way to compete next year even if payroll stays under $50MM.  That is no small feat.


12 Responses to 2012 Contract Issues: Tampa Bay Rays Leave a Reply

  1. This is how an organization should be run.

    • I think they do a great job, but you have to wonder how long they can sustain this success picking higher up in the draft the last few seasons.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        Thats true I mean they only have like 10 of the first 70 picks

        probably arent going to get anything good

        • Yeah this year they have a good number of them, but they aren’t going to have a mass exodus of Type A’s every season like they did this past off season. Considering what they have for free agents at the end of this season, they will be lucky to get one additional pick out of departing players. And then if they play to their potential this season they’ll be picking high once again.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            Doesn’t have to be every year.. They already have a top 2 farm system.. After this draft, barring any big depletions, they will have a top 5 farm for atleast a few more years.

          • rzepczynski 4 years ago

            exactly, plus then they trade shields and get prospect package, and upton, its a continuous cycle because they can develop talent

  2. They have a top 2 farm system right now, yes. But if their financial resources remain what it is and they continue to have success you are going to see some regression because they aren’t going to keep all of that talent locked up with Longoria-esque extensions. They’ll need to pick more talent, which comes with some uncertainty. Things aren’t going to line up for them perfectly every 3-4 years for their roster to turn over efficiently every time. I think they are looking very strong for the next few seasons. I just wonder how long that can be sustained with such limited financial resources, as I questioned in my original post. Didn’t say they won’t be successful.

    • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

      It seems you have not yet seen the Tree That Keeps On Giving aka Delmon Young

    • Factoring in injuries and attrition, the Rays still have so much quality pitching in the pipeline they can basically trade a quality starting pitcher every season to keep adding to their system. I’m optimistic because this franchise handles it’s pitchers so well. They come to the majors ready to pitch and healthy. Kazmir was overworked before the new GM came on board, so he doesn’t count, but otherwise Tampa starters are able to avoid l/t injuries. That includes the minors were they have had very few injuries it seems – McGee?

      Torres and Cobb could easily replace Niemann this offseason. Then the next year, Moore and Archer will compete for Shields or Davis or Torres/Cobb spot. Thompson and Colome the year after that could push someone else out. When you can trade assets like that for the best package available, year after year, combined with decent drafting and improving international scouting makes Top 10 picks much less important.

      And draft picks might become tradable in the future.

  3. lol The Giving Tree? I love that book.

  4. I love my Rays. I say we trade Shoppach, Johnson, Upton, Niemann, Lopez and Sonnanstine even if we are competing. I like Shields, he’s an innings eater. Hopefully he can sustain and ERA in the 4’s or high 3’s. Lock Price and Longo up. Price – $5.5MM-$6MM a year and Longo up to $9MM a year.

    We should be competing but I wouldn’t mind see the above posted gone at the deadline.

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