The Rays are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:
Eligible For Free Agency (6)
- Carlos Pena - Pena isn't hitting for much power yet, but he's drawing lots of walks and he's a capable defender at first base, according to The Fielding Bible Volume III. The Rays will need a first baseman next offseason, when Pena figures to obtain another one-year deal as a free agent.
- B.J. Upton - Upton has positioned himself for a multiyear deal worth $50MM-plus on the open market and the Rays aren't likely to submit the winning bid for their longtime center fielder. The Rays could make Upton a qualifying offer, since he'd probably have surplus trade value on a one-year deal in the $12-13MM range.
- Kyle Farnsworth - Farnsworth hasn't pitched this year due to elbow soreness. The 36-year-old will likely be looking at a one-year or minor league deal next offseason.
- Joel Peralta - Peralta has a 23K/6BB ratio in a league-leading 24 appearances this year. He could be a fit in next year's 'pen, but the Rays don't get overly attached to their relievers, so there are no guarantees for Peralta.
- Jeff Keppinger - Keppinger can hit lefties and play all over the infield, so he's a valuable bench player for manager Joe Maddon.
- J.P. Howell - Howell's rewarding the Rays for their decision to tender him a contract. But like Farnsworth and Peralta, he doesn't have any guarantees going forward.
Contract Options (4)
- James Shields: $9MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout. The Rays will exercise Shields' option after the season.
- Luke Scott: $6MM club option with a $1MM buyout. Scott has eight home runs and a .789 OPS now, and if he continues hitting this option could seem team-friendly by the end of the season.
- Fernando Rodney: $2.5MM club option with a $250K buyout. When the Rays signed Rodney, many people, myself included, criticized the team for guaranteeing the walk-prone right-hander a roster spot and $2MM. Rodney has been sensational so far this season with a career-best walk rate and his best strikeout rate since 2008. If the season ended today the Rays would exercise this option.
- Jose Molina: $1.8MM club option with a $300K buyout. The Rays' decision will likely depend on their assessment of Molina's defense and the development of Robinson Chirinos and Jose Lobaton (both presently on the disabled list).
Arbitration Eligible (8)
- First time: Sam Fuld, Chris Gimenez, Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce
- Second time: David Price, Jeff Niemann, Burke Badenhop
Price could end up close to $7MM his second time through arbitration and Niemann could approach $5MM. Joyce figures to be in the $3MM range next year and should lead the Rays' first-time eligible players. Gimenez and Brignac both have an OPS below .500, so they'll want to start hitting to ensure they aren't non-tendered.
2013 Payroll Obligation
The Rays have committed $18.6MM to next year's team, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Their payroll sits at $63.6MM this year, but that's not necessarily predictive, since the team's payroll has fluctuated a fair amount under the ownership of Stuart Sternberg.
New add on to the Mendoza line guideline: The Peña Exception – Minimal acceptable batting average doesn’t matter when your OBP is consistently .130 above your average.
The Tampa Bay Rays organisation should be a model for any franchise. Now BJ Upton is likely to leave, but that’s something Tampa has been aware of and planning for a long time, I bet Tampa has a plan for who will fill the void of Zobrist and eventually Evan Longoria too.
Other teams have certain players who are “irreplaceable”, which hurts the team in the long run, by running up the payroll and also killing team moral.
Case in point, Jimmy Rollins, who was handed a 11 million dollar a year contract in Philadelphia, even though he’s a AAA caliber SS these days. Now he’s acting like he doesn’t have to work for it anymore, and the spirit of the team seems to be cracking too.
GM’s shouldn’t listen to fans cries for keeping fan favorites. The GM’s are paid well to make the best decisions, not to make popular decisions.
not that there are many fans to ignore in tampa
Pena is coming off two seasons that were his worst power wise since 2003. At his age its unfortunately not going to get better.