Tampa Bay Rays (66-96)
The Rays are in the market for a veteran catcher to backup or split time with Dioner Navarro. One possible target that was mentioned in numerous circles is Michael Barrett of the Padres, a free agent. At the end of last week, Barrett decided to accept arbitration from the Padres and is now no longer a free agent. However, this does not necessarily mean that Barrett will not be on the Rays roster in 2008. In fact, this might have improved the chances.
For those not familiar with the process, the top free agents at each position are given a label of either a “Type A” or “Type B” free agent. If a team signs one of these free agents, they must forfeit either a first or second round pick in the next amateur draft. The top 15 picks are protected, so in the case of the Rays they would forfeit a second round pick in either case. In order for the former team to receive this compensation draft pick, they have to offer the free agent the option of arbitration. Of course, the risk to the team is that they are forced to keep a player they no longer want.
Barrett was a Type A free agent and losing a top draft pick may have been hurting his stance among potential suitors in the free agent market. Therefore, Barrett accepted the arbitration offer from the Padres. He now remains their property for one year. Most likely, the Padres will now trade Barrett, and the cost could be less than the second-round pick the Rays would have originally needed to give up. If a team trades for Barrett’s rights, they will have to go to arbitration or negotiate a long-term deal.
Last week we speculated that surrendering a second-round pick, was too high a price for a back-up catcher, and that in the end the Rays would pass on Barrett. The Rays recent second round picks have included Will Kline, Josh Butler, Chris Mason, Reid Brignac and James Houser. Now that the cost of Barrett will likely be a mid-level prospect, the chances of the Rays signing him may have improved. On the other hand, the number of teams that would be interested in Barrett may have gone up, especially from teams that would have had to originally surrender a first-round selection for the catcher.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- DRays Bay has landed an interview with the Rays’ Vice President of Branding and Fan Experience. We would tell you the guy’s name, but we already forgot. So, if you ever cared about who’s came up with the idea for the “Rays Tank” in center field, or why the concession stands sell Yankees and Red Sox ice cream cups (they don’t anymore) then click the link. [DRays Bay]
- The City of St. Petersburg has set a deadline of May 1 to pick a contractor for the redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site. [Florida Times-Union]
- In one recent “Power Rankings”, the Rays were no longer the only worst team in the league. In fact they are tied with the other 29 teams for 30th. [Bugs & Cranks]
- A sarcastic look at the new stadium proposed by the Tampa Bay Rays. [St. Pete Times]
One complaint has been that the team should be named “St. Petersburg Rays” instead of “Tampa Bay Rays”. This is a short-sighted viewpoint indeed. Most people associate St. Petersburg with a city in Russia that is very cold and undesirable in the winter. Why not be creative — St. Petersburg is the city of the Rays and it should be renamed Tampa Bay Rays City. I’m sure the Rays owners would agree to this.
- Evan Meek, formerly of the Rays, was not shy about showing his excitement about be drafted last week in the Rule 5 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. [Post-Gazette]