In explaining the decision to non-tender Sonny, Andrew Friedman made it clear that there is no longer room on the roster for a player that is rarely used (via Marc Topkin of TampaBay.com).
Friedman said there was no longer “an optimal fit” for Sonnanstine.
And just like that, the Sonnanstine era with the Tampa Bay Rays appears to have come to an end. We will always have a fond spot in our hearts for the guy we affectionately called “The Duke” (El Duque Hernandez’ twin brother from a caucasian mother).
The remainder of the Rays’ arbitration-eligible players were tendered contracts including JP Howell.
One reason it was easier to move Sonnanstine was the addition of Burke Badenhop from the Marlins for double-A catcher Jake Jefferies. Badenhop split the 2011 season between triple-A and the big leagues. in 63.2 innings with the Marlins, Badenhop had a 4.10 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 24 walks. His 2.95 FIP says that he pitched better than his ERA suggests.
Jefferies was the Rays third round pick in 2008. He spent the 2011 season in high-A and double-A hitting .238 with 2 home runs.