The Rays face an interesting dilemma the day after the World Series ends: What to do with Aki Iwamura’s $4.25 million option. While the amount is cheap for what Aki brings to the table, the Rays can find cheaper options in-house. And the Rays are a club where every million counts.

The Rays appear to have two options with Aki’s option (see what we did there!)

  1. Decline the option and move forward with some combination of Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac at second base.
  2. Pick up the option and try to trade Aki for a bullpen arm and/or prospects.

The downside to the second option is: a) Another team will know the Rays would be desperate to trade Aki, and if there isn’t a big market, they can hold out for next-to-nothing; b) What happens if the Rays cannot trade Aki? All of the sudden they are on the hook for $4.25 million with a player that might not have a position in 2010.

Of course, knowing the Rays, they will only pick up Aki’s option if they already have some assurance from another club that a trade is doable. The benefit to the other club is that the $4.25 million option is probably less than they would have to pay for Iwamura on the open market.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Chris Richard was removed from the 40-man roster. He has the option of choosing free agency over a demotion to Durham.
  • Carl Crawford won the Fielding Bible Award for being the top defensive left fielder. Of course, being named the best defensive left fielder is kinda like being named the best-looking Pug. There is a reason Gold Glove awards don’t differentiate among outfield positions. [The Heater]
  • Among several other items from Marc Topkin, we learn that Gabe Kapler “fits several needs” for the Rays even if he is just a 5th outfielder and Dave Martinez talked to the Indians about their managerial position. [St. Pete Times]
  • Dock of the Rays discusses Aki Iwamura’s option. [Dock of the Rays]
  • According to one metric, Matt Joyce was the 4th best defensive right fielder in the minors this past season. [The Hardball Times]

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6 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Look Aki is a nice guy…I guess…I never heard him talk…..but
    He is dispensible in the Rays line up…put Zo in at second….
    You have Longo, JB, Zo, and Pena in the infield..what else do you need…
    Rodz, Aybar as back ups….
    Let the young guys fight it out for RF, plus CC and Upton….
    Where do we need Aki?…esp for $4 mil+….where would he bat for $4mil,
    8th or 9th…we have cheap salary guys for that….

  2. Gus says:

    “Executive VP Andrew Friedman called Kapler a “tremendous asset,” a “positive influence” and a “valuable piece” of their 2010 squad. ”

    Really?

    Save those quotes for the post summarizing his release in June 2010.

  3. Kevin says:

    I think they should pick up the option. The choice is decline the option and get nothing for Aki and assume no risk related to his $4M salary, or pick up the option and then try to trade Aki for something. The option has value because Aki would get paid more on the open market. So the Rays will get SOMETHING for Aki and his $4M contract. The question is what will they get. Getting next to nothing is still more then actually getting nothing. Therefore, I think they will pick up the option because the risk of being stuck with the contract is worth it compared to the opportunity cost of not picking up the contract and getting something in return.

    • KillaTapes says:

      Exactly, I totally agree. He’s been one of my favorite Rays for a long time, so it’ll be sad to see him go, but better to get something for him in return than to just let him walk.

    • Beth says:

      I also agree. And worst case scenario — you can’t trade him — we’re still talking about a productive player at a relatively reasonable salary. $ 4million is a lot for the Rays, but it won’t kill them.

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