Tonight is the non-tender deadline for the Rays and their six arbitration-eligible players. So it might be a good time to say your good-byes to Jonny Gomes, as 2009 has a very good chance of being less Jonny-terrific.
Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro, Jason Bartlett and Grant Balfour will certainly be offered arbitration. Gomes is a good candidate to be non-tendered and Gabe Gross is on the cusp.
If the Rays offer Gross arbitration it might be an indication that they want to have the option of sending Matt Joyce to the minors to open the season. If Gross is not offered arbitration, Joyce will almost certainly be on the opening day roster.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Good news for the Rays. The first corner outfielder/DH signed. Raul Ibanez signed with the Phillies for three years/$30 million. With the deal also costing the Phillies a first round draft pick (Type A free agent) we can expect most of the remaining corner outfielder/DHs to come in under that mark. [MLB Trade Rumors]
- Matt Joyce, who is currently playing in Mexico and is from the Tampa area, called the trade to the Rays “a dream come true.” [St. Pete Times]
- Joe Maddon spoke highly of Matt Joyce the person and the ball player. [Tampa Tribune]
“I like the thunder in his bat, I like the effort with which he played,” said Manager Joe Maddon. “He’s a very good outfielder, he throws well and he’s young. He’s the kind of guy I think, as he learns more about himself at the plate, is going to be a very productive offensive player, too.”…Maddon added that several baseball people had approached him since the trade was made to tell him how much they thought of Joyce as a person, and Friedman heard the same thing.
- FanGraphs breaks down the Edwin Jackson/Matt Joyce trade noting that Joyce is the better player right now and will likely get better. They compare Joyce to Jayson Werth and note that Joyce teamed with Carl Crawford and BJ Upton is easily the best defensive outfield in baseball. [Fangraphs]
- Keith Law’s take is not quite as uplifting, saying Matt Joyce is best suited to be part of a right field platoon. [ESPN]
- Drays Bay shows that Matt Joyce compares favorably to Carl Crawford both defensively and against lefties and wonders why anybody would want to platoon Joyce…First off, they might be right and we are not sure Joyce isn’t an everyday player (we hope he is). While they have to use Joyce’s minor league splits, it is just silly to think that those numbers will translate perfectly to the major leagues. If Joyce is already near the bottom of the list in OPS against lefties with just his minor league numbers, is it too much of a stretch to worry that it might actually regress a little (or a lot) in the majors? And while Joyce’s minor league OPS versus lefties (.721) is greater than Carl Crawford’s major league OPS versus lefties (.695), three of the four seasons were actually worse. In fact, in 2008 at triple-A, Joyce posted an OPS of .656 versus lefties. It was only 46 at bats, but it was a crappy 46 at bats (1 HR, .308 OBP, 18.2% fly balls). And let’s say Joyce does maintain his OPS versus lefties. A starting outfield with Joyce and Crawford both playing positions that we should expect offensive production from, would be atrocious against left-handers. [Drays Bay]
- John Romano says the Matt Joyce at worst, is a younger, cheaper Gabe Gross. [St. Pete Times]
- Originally Matt Joyce was to be dealt to Seattle for JJ Putz. With Putz now a Met, that leaves the Tigers without a closer. Might Joyce have been traded for a closer after all? Might Edwin Jackson close for the Tiggers? [The Flint Journal]
- The “Rays Digest Podcast” will be back today with another installment as Tyler Hissey recaps the Winter Meetings. [Rays Digest]
- Pearls of Wisdom has gone to all stops to make sure Jonny Gomes is not tendered a contract tonight. [Pearls of Wisdom]
- Peter Abraham is reporting that Jason Giambi is open to returning to the Yankees for less years and less dollars. This is contrary to previous reports that said Giambi preferred to play on the west coast. [The LoHud Yankees Blog]
- David Chalk of Bugs and Cranks welcomes Matt Joyce to Devil Ray Town and hopes this means Jason Giambi is not to be a Ray. [Bugs and Cranks]