If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do based on what we have learned. Think of RI as “Tampa Bay Rays 101.”
However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans. Looking back at last year’s 12 Days of Raysmas, we see that many of our wishes came true. Many did not. If we can get a couple of more this year, the Rays might just win it all.
Without further ado…
On the first day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, ONE $8 million bat…
Last week we heard the Rays were one of a handful of teams that was considered a serious bidder for Carlos Beltran. OK, the Rays probably weren’t even in the same ballpark as the Cardinals, who eventually signed Beltran to a two-year, $26 million deal. But it does show the Rays were willing to write a sizable check for one big bat in the lineup.
This is just a guess, but the Ray offer must have been at least $8 million per season to be considered a serious bidder (unless of course Beltran’s people were inflating the Rays interest just to draw more money from the Cardinals. A definite possibility).
The problem is, after Beltran, there is not much left on the free agent market. Carlos Pena might be the best bat that is still available outside of Prince Fielder. So that’s one possibility. Otherwise, the only way the Rays are going to get an impact bat is by trading one of their starting pitchers.
At this point, the Rays projected payroll for 2012 is $52.1 million. If they were really in on Beltran, they must be willing to go to $60 million. But if they trade a starting pitcher, the Rays are more likely to add minor leaguers and see the payroll drop to $40-45 million.
The Rays may be just one bat from the World Series. At this point we are skeptical they will find one. But if they do, well, that would be a nice present.