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.
It’s going to be really interesting seeing what the Rays do with their pen this off-season. After they non-tender Lance Cormier, they will have virtually nobody in their bullpen. I wonder what they’ll do.
Balfour, Durbin, Saito, Uehara, Wheeler, Batista, Ohman, and Romero would be some potential fits. They could also look within for someone like Rodriguez or Cobb. And they will definetly make some trades. I think something like Jason Bartlett for Albers and Egan might work.
They’ll just sign bunch of relievers to dirt cheap and let the competition take care of itself.
let the cheapness begin!
It’s a shame Wheeler is a Type A. There is no way a team gives up a 1st round pick to sign him, so there is no way he turns down arbitration if it’s offered. Which probably means there is no way the Rays offer him arbitration. He’s going to end up walking for nothing, it seems.
I think Wheeler is one guy they’re going to end up missing. Well, him and Soriano.
I really hope the Braves pick Wheeler up as their set-up man for around 2.5-3 million.
maybe if a team signs a few A’s they’ll take him and only lose a 3rd
The Rays are going to do their best on getting at least something decent. Of course, we already have prospects
The Rays’ bullpen is a disaster at this point. You can’t expect to find a Benoit every year. It’s absolutely the right move to let their relievers go rather than pay them big money (4 million for Wheeler, really?) given their payroll. They will probably miss Wheeler the most considering the many roles he filled with the pen. I could see them picking up a guy like H. Bell in a trade or signing a low end closer from free agency (like a Kerry Wood Kevin Gregg type).
The Rays have excelled in the past by picking up hard throwers off of other teams’ scrap heap and finding a place in the pen for their talent. Kind of like San Deigo.
I just can’t see the Rays contending next year given the holes they have. I mean, they have a very good rotation and Longoria. Not much else. Trading 1-2 starters and signing a bunch of cheap free agents isn’t going to keep up with the improvements everyone else in the AL East will make.
The Rays season next year depends on the trades they make this offseason, and Jeremy Hellickson. Doubt they are able to resign Crawford, but if so that saves them a ton of work.
Plan B if they can’t resign CC, trade Shields for a quality power hitter to protect Longoria, presumably 1b or OF, the Cubs have a lot of extra OFs. Trade Bartlett for Quality Bullpen help, the Tigers are a good place to offer if they don’t resign Peralta. They have to hope their young prospects come through like Beckham or Reid Brignac, Upton rebounds, and Desmond Jennings replaces Carl Crawford, and Jeremy Hellickson becomes elite this year. Not all of those things are out of the question.