Rays backstop Wilson Ramos will reach an important milestone tonight, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times points out (on Twitter). Tonight’s start will be the 55th of the season for Ramos, which will bump his 2018 salary from $8.5MM to $10.5MM. That will push the total value of Ramos’ contract to a two years and $14.5MM, though he’ll have the opportunity to earn up to $750K worth of incentives next season. He could also technically boost next year’s salary by another $250K if he starts each of the final five games of the current season to reach 60 starts (though that, obviously, is quite unlikely.) Ramos looked poised for a massive payday in free agency late in the 2016 season, but a torn ACL suffered one year ago to the day significantly hampered his earning capacity. Thus far, he’s hit .263/.293/.444 with 10 homers through 211 plate appearances for Tampa Bay.
A bit more out of St. Petersburg…
- Infielder Matt Duffy played three innings in an instructional league game on Tuesday, writes Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays plan to build Duffy up to playing in a nine-inning game over the final seven games of instructional play, which the shortstop says will give him peace of mind heading into the offseason. Duffy tells Mooney that when he originally underwent surgery to repair his left heel last September, he was told to expect a recovery of three to six months. However, after three games of rehab work in May, he experienced recurring symptoms, and a calcium deposit that required surgical removal was discovered. Mooney writes that Duffy is still in the Rays’ plans for next season and spoke to senior VP Chaim Bloom about Duffy’s frustrating season.
- Duffy’s role with the team will be somewhat contingent on the team’s plans for Adeiny Hechavarria, but MLB.com’s Bill Chastain writes in his latest mailbag column that he expects the team to retain Hechavarria in arbitration this winter. Hechavarria hasn’t hit much with Tampa Bay, just .249/.284/.398 in 265 plate appearances, and he’s due a raise on this year’s $4.35MM salary. Still, his defensive prowess is an asset for the Rays, as Hechavarria has posted a strong +7 mark in Defensive Runs Saved with the Rays and +4 in Ultimate Zone Rating (+12.7 UZR/150). Chastain also discusses the Rays’ potential group of free agents with the offseason looming and the limited chances of retaining the likes of Alex Cobb, Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Steve Cishek and Tommy Hunter.