uspw_6574320If 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.

Without further ado…

On the tenth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, $10 MILLION ADDED TO THE 2013 PAYROLL…

As it stands right now, the Rays projected payroll sits at $56.3 million. I would feel a lot better about the 2013 Rays if the payroll is closer to $66.3 million.

We all know the Rays still need at least one more legit big league bat to serve as the most-days DH. And certainly the Rays will try to add one or two players like Jeff Keppinger in the $1-2 million range. But the chances that they will once again get Keppinger-like production are slim even if the Rays are good at finding needles in haystacks (although to be fair, their track record is much better with cheap pitchers than with cheap hitters).

And while the Rays have struggled with more expensive bats, if you are going to throw that dart, you are more likely to find success if you keep throwing the dart in direction of $5-10 million players. The problem is, it is getting late in the game, and it getting increasingly difficult to find good hitters that are still available. But Alfonso Soriano would be a good start.

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29 Comments

  1. arsene says:

    it is surely getting late in the game, but bats come cheaper as spring looms so need only be patient :)

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  2. J 2.0 says:

    Yuniesky Betancourt could be a $2 million Keppinger type to add...

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    • Tom says:

      Kepp >>> Betancourt

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      • J 2.0 says:

        Let's not get a case of "Casey Kotchman" syndrome over Jeff Keppinger here. Besides 2010 and 2012, his career reflects his nomad status. Betancourt provides pop and versatility. If he is healthy he'd probably come cheaper than $2 million.

        I think the Rays are waiting to see if they can be a player for Lance Berkman, but I still feel a "healthy" Luke Scott at a discount would be fantastic. He provides much more versatility than Berkman with his ability to play 1B and corner OF.

        All in all The Rays and Friedman are likely to do something none of us have even considered yet, and as far as I am concerned this year is going to be a return to the playoffs, but I don't think Stu will really open the purse strings until they gauge the upcoming TV deal and Wil Meyers has fully progressed into a MLB caliber star.

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        • Rob says:

          I agree with you that Kepp feels a lot like a Casey Kotchman scenario.

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        • Tom says:

          Betancourt has not had an OBP above .288 since 2008 and has a career OBP of .290. Kepp has a career OBP of .337 and has never had an OBP under .300. He is not an all star but he is MUCH better than Betancourt. I would rather they play Sean Rod than Betancourt at least Sean Rod can play defense.

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  3. Brent says:

    Maybe Lance Berkman?

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  4. Don says:

    Or how about offeing Kepp. $3 mil a year for 2 option for 3rd...
    Oh I forgot...TOO late...well maybe there is a better hitter out there...good luck friedman

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  5. Brent says:

    http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d9jd4?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=tampa-bay-rays

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  6. Ken says:

    What about M. Bourn? Put him in center, bat him in the 1 slot, move Flash back to left, use Joyce as a primary DH, trade spare parts (S Rod, Briggy, E.J., Torres, for a older RH bat and wait for Myers. Gotta believe that he could be had for 3-4 mil, with options and incentives. Market for CF's not hot right now. Lot of speed in the OF and at the top of the order. He's a career .272 hitter, and only 30. Could be another reclamation project.

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    • J 2.0 says:

      Reclamation project??? He's one of the top FA's available. He's likely to sign for close to $10 million. Not only that the Rays would've made the move the Phillies made to acquire Ben Revere if they wanted a Bourn type of player.

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      • Ken says:

        He made 6.8 M last year. I doubt any team would offer him 10 M based last year's performance. In 7 years he has an average of 4 HR and around 40 RBI's a year and a .272 BA. Numbers indicate a journey man player much like Fuld. If he was that hot of a commodity he would already be signed.

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        • Drew says:

          Where have you been the last year??

          From before last season: "and adjusting up a bit for inflation indicates that five-year, $50MM extension would make sense for both Bourn and the Braves."
          Source: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/01/extension-candidate-michael-bourn.html#l1C3MKCv7YwckzxU.99

          December 3: "Rangers. Five years. $95 million. It's hard to think he'll get that much, but I said the same thing about B.J. Upton, and I was dead wrong."
          Source: http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/12/3/3722844/free-agent-rumors-michael-bourn-rangers

          December 27: "How much would Bourn cost? In all likelihood, on a one-year deal, Bourn would cost $14-$16 million."
          Source: http://philliesnation.com/archives/2012/12/reconsidering-michael-bourn/

          December 20: "So did Bourn wait too long? Did Scott Boras, gasp!, make a mistake? I doubt it. Scott Boras is famous for getting his clients to wait until the last minute."
          Source: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/did-michael-bourn-and-scott-boras-wait-too-long/

          I suggest reading up on things and try to understand that defense and baserunning is becoming more valuable in the eyes of GM's.

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      • J 2.0 says:

        Bourn 2012: .274 BA 9 HR 57 RBI 42 SB

        Yeah what a bum. Sam Fuld does that every year right? It's the draft pick that is holding that deal up. He's probably trying to get BJ Upton money but will get closer to Victorino type pay.

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  7. Sarah says:

    I assume you mean "like Alfonso Soriano with the Cubs eating 90% of his contract." Isn't he set to make something like $15 million a year for the next two years?

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  8. deezy333 says:

    Mike Morse (6.75 mil) + Scott Hairston (3.25 mil) = 10 mil

    Trade infield depth (Srod, EJ, Roberts, Brignac) for bullpen arm(s) while freeing up money in the process.

    Take a flier on a couple arms (Joey Devine?)

    Fin...

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  9. Dave L says:

    The bats we hire have to have a position when we are not at bat.

    Loney's splits against LHP are fine for a SS but unacceptable for a 1st baseman. I expect the Rays to platoon him as well as Joyce on most nights against southpaw starters.

    The 3 positions I see most in need are DH, RH outfield bat and 1st base RH bat and possibly a true centerfielder.

    I dont want any pure DH you are scared to put in the field that rules out the Berkman tyoes.

    Any lefty bat we add would have to clear the 'better than a cheap Luke Scott' hurdle.

    For me I would be happy with Scott and a RH bat who could play a servicable 1st base and right field on nights where we face the Chris Sales on the schedule.

    I would be happy with Bourn but his value would have to drop signifigantly, somebody else will pay him.

    Question: Who plays 3rd when Longo DH's?

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    • Tom says:

      Why do you not want a DH?

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    • Tom says:

      I would assume Roberts ot Rodriguez plays 3rd when Longo is DH.

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      • Dave L says:

        Because as I explained we have weaknesses in the current lineup. What Im saying I dont want a pure DH peg leg like Burkman.

        We need someone when not DH who can spell Loney or Joyce in the field against lefties or Longo when he DH's.

        I dont want SRod in any regular lineup to open the season. He is there as a fill in for a injured DL guy.

        And a hopefully healthy Luke can play some right and first if needed

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        • Don says:

          Do you realize Luke Scott, went like 0for50 in a stretch,and played like 2 days in the field the whole season, and you want to pay him what?.. to sit on the bench and hit what .220...don't we have enough of those??

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          • phil says:

            Luke Scott had a hurt shoulder last year .(going into last year he was just coming off shoulder surgery) ,,if his shoulder is fine he can play a little OF and first and off course DH

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        • Tom says:

          If you sign Scott instead of Berkman purely because of the fact Scott can 1B/Of and Berkman cannot than when you move Scott to 1B against lefties you still open up a hole at DH (except for the handful of games in NL parks) so I am not sure I see much of an advantage from that perspective.

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    • phil says:

      if we sign Bourne we lose our first round pick in next years draft!

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  10. LaneMeyer says:

    Nice article about Richie Shaffer online today

    http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121213&content_id=40647742&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&partnerId=rss_tb

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  11. Daniel Bamber says:

    Trade for Soriano!!!

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  12. Dave L says:

    Phil makes an excellent point, the Rays will never give up a first round pick in order to get a player equivalent to one we could get in free agency, even though a late first rounder is a 50/50 bet.

    Bourne and any other compensation Free Agent is a non starter

    Zero percent chance on Bourne.

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