We can rule out any possible return of Toby Hall to the Rays. Buried at the bottom of the Iwamura article is the news that Hall has been offered a minor league contract by the Rays. Hall scoffed at the idea and was quoted as saying “That was funny…I guess it would be a minor-league contract because they’re a minor-league team.” Of course in 85 games with his Major League team last season, Hall could only manage to crack the starting lineup 13 times, and then he was non-tendered. So does that make Toby Hall a minor leaguer? We promise not laugh too hard when Hall ends up signing a minor league deal with another ball club.
Devil Rays Webtopia
- One day after the Pink Hats That Are The Boston Red Sox reached an agreement with their Japanese League acquisition, it now appears that a deal between the Rays and Akinori Iwamura is imminent. On a side note, we are getting tired of looking up how to spell his name. We are desperate for a nickname for this kid. Kino? Wamu? While a deal for Iwamura answered one question, it actually raises more questions for the Rays roster. Most likely Iwamura will be the opening day third baseman for the D-Rays. That leaves B. J. Upton without a position, and likely back in Durham at the beginning of the season. However, the Rays continue to dabble in the trade market and this signing increases the chance that somebody is going to be traded. The most rumored player to be on the move is Rocco Baldelli. If Rocco were traded, Upton would likely be shifted to center field. However at this point all comers have balked at the Rays asking price. If Rocco is not moved, the Rays may decide to just trade Upton. While still considered a great prospect, the Rays would receive less than full value for Upton due to his uninspiring play at the major league level and the growing questions about his ability to ever field a position, any position. Finally, the Rays could decide to deal Jorge Cantu, or move him to first base. Moving Cantu would allow Iwamura to be the everyday second baseman and Upton would remain at third base for the time being.
- Yesterday was the non-tender deadline, in which arbitration eligible players were required to receive a contract offer from their ballclubs. Players not receiving a contract offer immediately became free agents. The Rays non-tendered Damon Hollins. The move frees up a second spot on the 40-man roster. One of those spots will be filled by Akinori Iwamura, and the second needs to be filled by a utility infielder.
- In addition to Damon Hollins, the non-tender list of major league players is a who’s who of former Devil Rays. Toby Hall, Mark Hendrickson, Victor Zambrano and Jorge Sosa were all awarded free agency yesterday by their respective clubs.
- Dropping Victor Zambrano was just the final barb for the Mets since they traded Scott Kazmir to the Rays. In 35 starts for the Mets, The Human Walkman, Zambrano, was 10-14 and spent most of his time on the DL. At one point it appeared that Zambrano’s career may be over, but now it appears that he is healthy and ready to pitch again. If Zambrano signed with the Rays and found even a modicum of success in the bullpen, Met’s fans everywhere may need white jackets.
- Another player granted free agency was second baseman Marcus Giles. The Rays are one of three clubs that are rumored to be interested in the former Atlanta Brave. Signing Giles seems unlikely, as it would require both B. J. Upton and Jorge Cantu to change positions and/or be traded.
- The odds of the Rays winning the 2007 World Series? 100:1. Only the Washington Nationals are a longer shot at 150:1. Quite frankly we think that the number is missing a couple of zeros.