[Ed. note (4:29pm): Eduardo Encina is reporting that the contract has not been finalized]
Yahoo! Sports (are we the only ones that loathe the exclamation point?) is reporting that the Rays have signed Cliff Floyd to a 1-year contract with a team option in 2009. Floyd will make a base salary of $2.75 million with the opportunity to earn an additional $2 million in incentives.
We already wrote at length about what adding Floyd to the lineup would mean in terms of run production. As for the 25-man roster, Floyd fills multiple needs. He is the left-handed bat and part-time right fielder and DH the team was seeking. In addition, he will be able to spell Carlos Pena at first base whenever the latter needs a day off.
On the offensive side of the ball, there is now one less opening for the 2008. The team is still in the market for a veteran back-up catcher to fill one of the bench spots (could the Rays bring back Josh Paul in 2008?). Assuming that Ben Zobrist is the back up middle infielder, that leaves one bench spot that is wide-open. At this point, we give the edge to Joel Guzman because of his glove-work and defensive flexibility.
The signing of Floyd also raises the projected payroll to over $40 million. This is a jump up from what most thought would be the opening day payroll based on comments from the team that the payroll would raise approximately 20%. A $41 million payroll would be a raise of greater than 40% over the 2007 opening day payroll ($28 million).