Last night, Desmond Jennings had two doubles and hit his sixth home run. And yet, no matter he does in Durham, there is a good chance we won’t see him until the first week of July.

If the Rays promoted Jennings today, there is a good chance he would be eligible for arbitration following the 2013 season. If the Rays wait until at least July 4*, he will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2014 season.

On the surface, this seems to make sound financial sense. By waiting, the Rays can potentially save $2-3 million on the 2014 payroll. Without arbitration or a contract extension, Jennings would likely make close to the league minimum ($414,000). If he were elgibile for arbitration, his salary could potentially be similar to what BJ Upton made in his first arbitration season ($3 million).

But here is why the move seems silly

The Rays have shown they are willing to add payroll in July if they think a player will help them down the stretch. In 2009, the Rays nearly acquired Jason Bay who still had about $2 million remaining on his contract.

So if the Rays are willing to add $2 million in today’s dollars for one month of service, why wouldn’t they be willing to add $2-3 million in 2014 dollars for four months of Desmond Jennings now?

And let’s face it. No matter how much the fans love Sam Fuld, Jennings is a better player and will help the Rays win more games, right now. How many more? Maybe only one or two. But in a division where one or two games can mean the difference between October baseball or October golf, $2-3 million, three years from now, seems like a small price to pay.

*If Jennings is promoted on July 4 and does not return to the minors, he would have 2 years, 120 days service time at the end of the 2013 season. Super-2 arbitration status varies from year-to-year (it is a percentage of players that have between two and three years of service). In 2010 the cutoff was 2 years, 122 days. This year, it is expected to be 2 years 146 days. Historically, most years fall within this range. So if the Rays limit Jennings to 2 years, 120 days, it is a good bet he will avoid Super-2 status.

 
 

18 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    I agree it is both smart and silly. Rather than have a set rule that you leave players in the minors as long as possible I would hope they would look at the current situation: are there reasonable alternatives to play in the outfield today (answer — not really), and are they a contender this year (answer — definitely). If they feel that Des can help them win a pennant now, they should bring him up.

  2. RaysFan says:

    Where did you find the expected Super-2 cutoff date for 2011? You say it’s expected to be 2 years 146 days, which would make the cutoff date quite a bit earlier than last year.

    Is there a website that keeps track of this moving date?

  3. werD says:

    I say try out Guyer/ Fuld/ S Rod/ Damon/ Zobrist/ i could go on and on and on, before you bring up DJ. The Rays already let nearly two months go by. let ONE more go, then bring him up for the series before the break.

  4. Sledge says:

    Cork – What do you make of him playing CF regularly in Durham? Didn’t he play mostly LF last year? With all the headcase issues we’ve had with BJ, I have a vision of a 2012 starting OF of Guyer in LF, Jennings in CF, and Joyce in RF. Could him needing more seasoning in CF be an additional part of the equation here?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Defensively he should be fine. He played 90 games in center last year. And I agree. I would be surprised if Jennings is not the starting center fielder in 2012, if not sooner.

  5. Des from Durham says:

    Silly?

    How about against the spirit and basic contract of 150 years of american baseball, which is: the best players play (unless for a time, they were of the wrong ethnicity) , and you give your fans the best product you can.

    Never have I seen a more blatant case of the Man keeping a fellow man down because he has the power to do so, even if it is wrong. Super 2? All winter long this organization and their sychophants at DRays Bay dogged me as a failed prospect who had to prove it again in AAA based on 21 scattered ABs in September in the bigs. Now I’m too good to be called up? For real?

    Future prospects: don’t sign with the Rays. They won’t be straight with you.

    • Boxauthor says:

      Ah—the trials of a man who gets paid well to play baseball for a living. I know a few burger-flippers that would happily trade spots.

      • Andy says:

        Burger Flippers don’t work nearly as hard as professional athletes. And minor leaguers have a far from cozy life. MLB is a life of luxury…MiLB is FAR from it.

    • Carey says:

      I would agree with you if we lived in a perfect world. But we don’t. We play in a league that has allowed one team (Yankees) and a few others to game the system by intentionally overpaying players in an effort to bring undue and unfair inflationary pressure on the rest of the league – especially smaller market teams like the Rays. This is the world/league we live/play in and, unfortunately, it required that we do unsavory things like this.

      Don’t hate on the Rays. Hate on the horrible system MLB has in place and the rat-bastard SOB’s like the Yankees that do everything in their power to make it worse.

    • Scot says:

      Basic philosophy of MLB – to make money. Spending 2 million for a somewhat better than replaceable player is losing money. The smartest team in baseball are the Marlins. They spend the least on payroll and development, they collect income from the rest of MLB, and now they got some suckers in southern Florida to buy them a new building for which they can make more revenue.

      MLB makes the owners money. Regardless how much annual losses Stuart has experienced with the Rays, he will sell the team for a killing. John Moore bought the Padres for around 85 million. Lost millions most years, and sold it for 1/2 a billion.

      That is the spirit and basic contract of 150 year of American baseball.

      • Des from Durham says:

        Marlins don’t bury their prospects at AAA like the Rays do. If you can play, you are in the bigs at 21 or 20 (Cabrera).

        I would be on the MLB roster of every other team in the bigs right now except the Rays. For a player whose legs are so key, this will forever limit my earning potetnial. I’ll be 4 years older than Crawford when I reach free agency.

        Calling up Ruggiano (his name translates in italian to “Fuld”) is just rubbing my nose in it.

    • Derek says:

      I’ve read a lot about Jennings, and I’ve only read one guy who called Jennings a bust. His name his Don, and he posts here.

      As for people saying that Jennings needed to start the year in Durham. That move was based on two things. Lack of power, and super 2. Now that he has shown that he can still hit for power, he will wait for the super 2, like every legit prospect should.

      Luckily you are not really him, or I would have already lost all respect for you and your future as a good ballplayer.

      • Des from Durham says:

        In an attempt to save $2M in 2014, the Rays have tried the following cast of clown to keep me down and out of LF:

        1. Manny (DH, keeping Damon Lf)
        2. Damon LF — so bad, you’ll be cringing when he plays in NL parks; Manny getting kicked out of baseball absolved Friedman from the difficult question: why did you blow 20% of the budget on two DHs?)
        3. Fuld (the new picture of regression)
        4. Guyer (he may have a beef too, but he jumped me in line)
        5. Ruggiano (this is getting embarassing)

        • Derek says:

          Maybe you failed to read the middle paragraph. The one where I said he had to prove he is ready. And now that he has, he will wait. And we don’t lose two wins because of it. His defense won’t be any better than Fuld’s, and his bat isn’t worth two wins in a months time.

          It’s embarrassing for me, because I’m fighting with a guy? pretending to be another guy. If you don’t understand baseball, that’s fine, but I’m done trying to clue you in on how things work with top prospects who hadn’t done much of anything in over a year.

          • Sublime says:

            Flip-side of your argument, what has Justin Ruggiano proved? What was the stat someone mentioned earlier, he’s played 462 games with the Durham Bulls, Christ what is that like 10 seasons…lol.

            I think they should bring him up.

  6. ALLEN says:

    I don’t get all this noise about Desmond Jennings. Didn’t he hit just .154 in Spring Training this year with only 1 stolen base? And when he was given the opporunity last year he hit a mere .190, got 2 stolen bases but was also caught stealing two times. I suppose those stats meet with Rays norm, considering Brignac, Shoppach and Dan. AAA stats don’t equal the American League East. Why the expectation that Jennings is ready for Tampa Bay?

  7. Rob says:

    They kept Joyce down so that he’d become a complete player. Seems to have helped him. Questioning the Rays is always reasonable, they aren’t perfect and we learn things by asking. But, based on their total body of work, some of criticism from some of the responses seems a bit unreasonable and narrowly focused. This is how Tampa Bay Rays run their team. They’ve done enough for me to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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