The Rays have five players that are arbitration-eligible: Dioner Navarro, Jason Bartlett, Gabe Gross, Grant Balfour, Willy Aybar. The Rays will have until January 19 to reach an agreement with each of these players prior to filing arbitration numbers. The Rays have a strict “file-and-go” policy. Once arbitration numbers have been filed, they will no longer negotiate with a player.
The Rays have an excellent track record for getting these deals done prior to the deadline, so look for each of these players to have a new contract in the next two weeks.
Typically, players that avoid arbitration sign one-year deals. Of the above players, the Rays seem most likely to give long-term deals to Navarro and Balfour with Bartlett as a possibility.
Balfour already hinted that his participation in the World Baseball Classic could be contingent on the deal offered by the Rays.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- A very thorough biography for Patrick B. Burrell. His idol was George Brett.[JockBio]
- Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rays have kicked the tires on Gabe Kapler as a potential right fielder. Kapler played 96 games for the Brewers last season hitting .301/.340/.498. The Rays interest in Kapler further suggests that Matt Joyce will begin the season in the minor leagues. In theory, Kapler would be used as part of a platoon with Gabe Gross in right field until Joyce is deemed ready to be the everyday guy. Kapler posted a 1.001 OPS against lefties in 87 plate appearances in 2008 and has an .828 career OPS versus lefties. [Fox Sports]
- Buster Olney takes a look at how much the Rays lineup may improve in 2009 with the addition on Pat Burrell and healthy seasons from the returning position players. [ESPN]
- The Rays Party of America takes the MLB Network and Harold Reynolds to task for their portrayal of the Rays’ success in 2008…Speaking of which, yesterday afternoon was a treat as the MLB Network broadcast game 2 of the World Series. You know, the good game. [The Rays Party of America]
- The Rays announced a couple more signings of former major leaguers to minor league deals. This time it is a pair of pitchers. Randy Choate is a lefty who has spent parts of 8 seasons with the Yankees and D-Backs. Last year he spent the year at triple-A in the Brewers organization posting a 5.08 ERA with 31 Ks and 20 walks in 39 innings. Julio DePaula is a righty that appeared in 16 games for the Twins in 2007. Last year he was at triple-A and posted a 5.70 ERA with 65 Ks and 41 walks in 77.1 innings. [The Heater]