Tampa Bay Rays (66-96)
If the Rays want to sign Scott Kazmir to a long-term contract, they may want to do it sooner rather than later, because the price keeps going up. Jake Peavy signed a contract extension with the San Diego Padres that will guarantee him $65.5 million over the next 5 seasons. While Kid K has never won 19 games, much less a Cy Young Award, Kazmir’s career to date is very similar to Peavy’s first three full seasons and would it really surprise anybody if Kid K won 18-19 games this season? In 2007 he went 13-9 for a team that lost 96 games and possessed one of the worst bullpens in baseball history. Oh yeah, and he is left handed.
At the other end of the spectrum in terms of comparison is Jeff Francis, a lefty for the Colorado Rockies, who signed an extension prior to last season. A contemporary of Kazmir, there first two seasons were nearly identical, but Francis broke out last season, winning 17 games for a playoff team. Francis is due $19.25 million over the next four seasons. If the Rays are to sign Kazmir to an extension this off-season look for the numbers to fall somewhere between those two contracts. Let’s say 4 years/$26 million or 5 years/$38 million with the last year being a club option.
Peavy closes in on $52M extension [SI.com]
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Omar Minaya says that the Mets don’t need another starting pitcher. Of course the Mets currently have Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez, John Maine, Oliver Perez and a minor leaguer to be named later…Conclusion: Minaya is lying out his arse…We wonder if Mets fans have changed their tune about how they can thank the Scott Kazmir deal for Omar Minaya and all those championships they have won since he came on board. [SI.com]
- John Keri interviews Matt Silverman and Andrew Friedman. [ESPN]
- No surprise here, but it is now official…Akinori Iwamura will be the Rays second baseman whether or not Evan Longoria is ready to be a major league third baseman. Joe Maddon says that the Rays will “mix-and-match at third base until Evan is ready”. If Longoria does start the season in Durham, the most likely choice to be the Rays opening day third baseman is Joel Guzman, who has a gold-glove caliber glove but comes with a gold-glove size hole in his swing. [Yahoo! Sports]
- Baseball America says that the Rays suddenly have a lack of depth of outfielders in the organization and are likely to select Brian Barton in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. They say that there are questions concerning Barton, but that the upside is well-worth the selection. [Baseball America]
“Maybe he’s not the type runner he was prior to the (off-season knee) surgery,” said another AL front office executive. “Maybe he comes back and is the same kind of runner. But he’s got the ability to hit for average, has more pop than a lot of people give him credit, and can defend. He’s a little stiff on balls in on his hands, but you could definitely see him going to Tampa with everything they’ve shipped out.”
- Not so fast, Baseball America is now saying that the Rays will not select Brian Barton. Rather the Rays will either sell their selection or select a relief pitcher. BA also notes that Rays’ farmhand Evan Meek may be selected in the draft. Meek increased his stock in the Arizona Fall League after a mediocre 2007 in Montgomery. [Baseball America]
- The Rays need a left handed bat and a right fielder. Marc Topkin points out that there used to be a player in the organization that fit the bill perfectly…Josh Hamilton anybody? [tampabay.com]
- David Price was given his 2007 Baseball America College Player of the Year award yesterday at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. For the first time Rays management acknowledged Price could very well pitch for the Rays in 2008. [TBO]
“He can come quickly,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said this afternoon, adding that it was within the realm of possibility for Price to reach the majors sometime in 2008.
- David Price has set a target date of July 11 for his major league debut. That is July 11 of this season. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Rays rotation in the second half is Kazmir-Shields-Garza-Price-Niemann, with Wade Davis and Jake McGee pounding the mitts in AAA gunning for a 2009 debut. [MLB]
- Mike Pagliarulo (that Pags?) calculates Carlos Pena’s value at $4-5 million and explains the correct way to determine the value of a player. [Dugout Central]