If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do, and why. Unlike most team blogs, we do not very often tell you what the Tampa Bay Rays should do. However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans.
On the fifth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, a FIVE-year extension for Matt Garza…
After 52 big league starts, the Rays gave James Shields a 4-year deal with three option-years that could potentially buy out Shields’ first two years of free agency. The deal is potentially worth $39.25 million.
Matt Garza now has 54 starts under his belt and in 2008 showed why he was the top prospect in the Twins organization. With Shields and Scott Kazmir already signed through at least their first free agency season, Garza is the next pitcher that the Rays will target for a long-term deal.
Blessed with what many consider the best stuff on the staff, Garza will be arbitration-eligible following the 2009 season. If the Rays can reach an agreement with Garza on a long-term extension this off-season, it will be for at least 5 years (including options). A five-year deal would buy out Garza’s first year of free agency.
Shields’ deal averages $5.6 million over the life of the deal if all options are exercised. As a super-two following the 2009 season, Garza is a little ahead of where Shields was in terms of service time. On the other hand, Garza does not have the same durable appearance.
Let’s say five years, plus a team option for 2014, which is one year less than Shields’ deal, with an average annual salary of $6 million ($36MM total). Mr. Garza? Mr. Friedman? Good. Do it.
We are only two years removed from a rotation that we often referred to as “Kazmir, Hendrickson and pray for a power outage at the Trop.” Now the Rays may have an opening day rotation in 2009 that includes three first-round draft picks, James Shields and a Volvo (Sonnanstine is safe and dependable).
If the Rays want to remain competitive in the AL East, long-term deals for their young pitchers are a must. Kazmir and Shields have been taken care of. It is Garza’s turn.
On the fifth day of Raysmas, all Rays fans want is a FIVE-year extension for Matt Garza, and…
FOUR pitchers with 15 wins [Day 4]
THREE Gold Glove awards [Day 3]
TWO months in triple-A for David Price [Day 2]
ONE impact bat with a bow on top [Day 1]