In a couple of moves that we have been speculating about, the Rays today announced that they have declined the 2011 options on Dan Wheeler and Willy Aybar. And they have added Elliot Johnson to the 40-man roster.
Wheeler’s option would have paid him $4 million in 2011. Instead the Rays bought out the option for $1 million and Wheeler is now a free agent. Look for the Rays to try and re-sign Wheeler for around $2 million which, with the buyout, would save the Rays $1 million.
Aybar’s 2011 option was for $2.2 million. The Rays bought out that option for $275K. Unlike Wheeler, Aybar is still under the Rays control and will be arbitration-eligible. Look for him to make $1.5-1.7 million in 2011, saving the Rays about $500K.
Johnson would have become a minor league free agent had the Rays not added him to the 40-man roster. Look for Johnson to be the Rays third middle infielder in 2011. He finished third in the International League in hitting (.319) this past season, switch-hits and can play several positions, making him perfect for the Rays bench. Johnson did play seven games with the Rays back in 2008.