Tampa Bay Rays (63 days until pitchers and catchers report)
The Tampa Bay Rays offered contracts to all players with less than six years of experience that did not already have a contract. While many (including this site) had speculated that Grant Balfour would be non-tendered and granted free agency, the move is not surprising. Balfour was deemed the most likely candidate with the recent additions to the bullpen and his pending arbitration eligibility.

Balfour is set to make somewhere between $600,000 and $900,000 in arbitration, a number that is more than palatable for the Rays. However, that is not why Balfour was tendered a contract. Balfour is still on the team at this point because there was no immediate reason to drop him from the 40-man roster. The Rays 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players. Based on our Trade Value Index (TVI), Balfour and Kurt Birkins are the two least valuable members of the 40-man roster. If and when the need arises Balfour will be the first player Designated For Assignment as it appears that Birkins still has an option left and can be demoted to the minors, while Balfour cannot.

Eventually Balfour will be released as there will be no available spots in the bullpen. With seven slots available, Troy Percival, Al Reyes, Dan Wheeler and Gary Glover are locks. That leaves three spots. One of those will go to a long reliever/spot starter. The most likely candidate is Jason Hammel, who will be bumped from the rotation, but is out of options. The team is also insisting on having a left-hander in the bullpen. That leaves one spot. Balfour is about 18th in line for that final spot, just ahead of Chad Orvella and just behind Shawn Riggans. In fact, the leading candidates for that spot are Scott Dohmann (out of options), Juan Salas (one option left) and a player yet to be acquired.

In the end, tendering a contract to Grant Balfour does not mean he will be in the bullpen in 2008. It just delayed the inevitable.

Rays offer contracts to all players [DevilRays]

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Please note up above, that we have a new email address for tips and comments ([email protected]). Eventually we will discontinue checking the gmail account.
  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com is reporting that the Rays are close to signing Cliff Floyd. Floyd would fill the Rays need for a left handed bat/RF/DH. [ESPN]
  • Here is a complete list of the players that were non-tendered. [Amazin’ Avenue]
  • One name that is not on the list, unfortunately, is Ben Broussard. He was traded to the Rangers just prior to the deadline. [Seattle Times]
  • DRays Bay took a look at the potential non-tender free agent pool and came up with three players the Rays should attempt to sign, Mark Prior, Adam Everett and Morgan Ensberg. Prior is a fine as long as he can be had for cheap. Doubt it. We like the idea of Everett, but we think there will be plenty of suitors for his services and while Ensberg could be a nice stop-gap at third base, we just think the Rays have more pressing holes to fill. [DRays Bay]
  • Rays Anatomy discusses the Mitchell Report, which is scheduled to be released today at 2:00 and asks “Will anybody care?” We feel there will be three significant effects of the Mitchell Report: 1) We will all suddenly realize that Barry Bonds has unfairly carried the weight of the Steroid Era, when in reality he was just the biggest smurf in a land full of smurfs (smurves?); 2) The Report will most negatively impact the hall-of-famer that is in the twilight of their career. That player will not have an opportunity to redeem their image and their ticket to the hall-of-fame will most likely be irreparably damaged (ie. Mike Piazza, Tom Glavine, etc.); 3) We will lose flavor for the young all-star types, and while we may forgive them eventually, we will never forget. If Albert Pujols is on the list, he will have a chance to redeem himself, but he will never be Albert Pujols again. [Rays Anatomy]
  • Rays of Light is holding a contest to see who can guess the most players on the list. [Rays of Light]
  • The Tampa Bay Devil Rays. 5th Worst sports franchise of the last decade? ‘Bout right. [Dave and Thomas]
  • The Rays released their 2008 Spring Training schedule. [TBO]
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