Tampa Bay Rays (1-0)

Yesterday: Tampa Bay Rays (Off Day).


  • The Rays signed Dan Wheeler to a 3-year extension. The deal will pay Wheeler $9.5 million over the next three years with a 4th year team option that is worth $4 million with a $1 million buyout. With the deal, Wheeler actually takes a slight pay cut for 2008. Prior to the season Wheeler avoided arbitration when he agreed to a 1-year, $2.875 million. With the new deal, he will earn $2.8 million for 2008. Wheeler would have been a free agent at the end of the year and likely would have been traded prior to July 31 had an extension not been signed…In other news, the Rays picked up the first of two options on Carl Crawford’s options. This one is for the 2009 season and will pay CC $8.25 million. The Rays also declined Rocco Baldelli’s 2009 option for $6 million, instead, paying the $4 million buyout. The buyout is to be payed out, half this November, and half next November. [The Heater]
  • Outs Per Swing hit the nail on the head with the Dan Wheeler extension. The rate may seem a little steep on the surface, but at some point in the next three years, Wheeler will likely be the Rays closer and if that happens, the price tag will be a bargain. [Outs Per Swing]
  • Rays of Light says the Dan Wheeler signing is another sign that the team is committed to winning even if this deal is not as sexy as some others.Of a more immediate concern, they suggest that this increases the chances that Al Reyes is dealt prior to the trading deadline. Reyes is a free agent-to-be. [Rays of Light]
  • Andrew Friedman says that once Rocco Baldelli’s health situation is addressed, the team will make every effort to keep Rocco in a Rays’ uniform. Baldelli says that he is encouraged after recent visits to doctors. [St. Pete Times]

Baldelli said he “hadn’t given any thought” to his contract situation as he focuses on his health, and he said after recent visits to several specialists: “We are seeing progress as far as a more specific type of diagnosis and I’m encouraged by that.”

  • Sure sounds like even Dan Shanoff is jumping on the Rays bandwagon. [Sporting News]

Tampa is not only 1-0 as the “Rays”; they seem as legit as all of the preseason hype suggested they were …

  • DRays Bay calls Andrew Friedman the opening day MVP. [DRays Bay]
  • Matt Garza is anxious to make his Rays’ debut tonight. [MLB]

1 Comment

  1. Robert Rittner says:

    I think the Wheeler contract would be a little steep for a team that sees little chance to contend over the next 3 years, but not one that legitimately considers itself on the verge of contention now. Had the Rays made a deal like this two years ago, or even last year, I think it would have been foolish; now I think it is smart.

    What reliever in Wheeler's category has a better contract from the vantage point of the team? Wouldn't you say that Wheeler is at least as good as Vizcaino? Hawkins? Affeldt? Romero? And while not designated a closer, isn't he at least as likely to stay healthy as Gagne or Dotel?

    One has to assume the market price for set-up men will go up next year. It seems to me the Rays are paying a decent price for Wheeler if they are anticipating their ability to contend correctly.


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