[4:08pm] And of course now we get Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports saying (via Twitter) that if a Milton Bradley deal is close, it is not to the Rays.

[3:02pm] Now that the deal for Soriano looks finalized, we can get back to the endless rumormongering about Milton Bradley. And Bob Nightengale doesn’t waste any time, saying (via Twitter) the Cubs “are close to trading” Bradley. Nightengale says that “all indications” are that he will be traded to the Rays. We are pretty sure we have heard this report everyday this week.

[12:53pm] There was a report that Soriano’s deal is non-guaranteed. That is not correct. It is guaranteed. Had Soriano gone to arbitration the contract would have been non-guaranteed as are all contracts for free agents that accept (and go to) arbitration.

[12:09pm] Ken Rosenthal says (via Twitter) the Rays and Rafael Soriano have agreed to a one-year deal for about $7 million. Teams now have to review players’ medical records before signing off on the deal.

[11:22am] And here comes the news that we were expecting. Ken Rosenthal says (via Twitter) the Rays and Rafael Soriano are negotiating a 1-year deal and that the trade is not official until a new deal is agreed upon. Also, we would not be surprised if the Rays insist that Soriano agree in the contract to decline arbitration next winter if it is offered.

[9:50am] Marc Topkin reports that the Rays have traded Armando Zerpa to the Dodgers for cash. The Rays did lose Mike Wlodarczyk in the triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, but did not lose Aneury Rodriguez. An update to Topkin’s post shows that the Rays also lost Douglas Salinas to the Reds in the double-A phase but picked up RHP Miguel Sierra from the White Sox in the triple-A phase.

[9:25am] The Rays have selected Armando Zerpa a left-handed pitcher from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft. Zerpa, 22, made 38 appearances between single-A and high single-A with a 2.68 ERA. He had 78 strikeouts and 35 walks in 74 innings.

[9:14am] Carrie Muskat says (via Twitter) the Cubs are desparate to trade Milton Bradley, but the Rays feel no obligation to take him. One Rays employee said the team actually prefers one year of Pat Burrell over two years of Milton Bradley. This is actually one of several non-attitude reasons we have always leaned against this deal.

[8:00am] Yesterday was a wild one for Rays rumors. At one point, within minutes of each other, we read a report that there were no “mystery teams” trying to trade for Milton Bradley, and that the Rays were still the favorite, while a second report said there were two mystery teams and that neither was the Rays. We also finally heard of a team expressing interest in Dioner Navarro (the Rangers).

Astros Rays BaseballBut the biggest news of course was that the Rays are close to a deal for closer Rafael Soriano. We heard that the Rays were one of two teams interested, the frontrunner, not the frontrunner and only one of six teams interested and balking at the price. We heard that Andrew Friedman and Frank Wren (Braves GM) rode an elevator together and walked to dinner together, before we finally heard the good news from Marc Topkin late last night.

Now let’s look at what came through late last night and this morning so far. We will update this post throughout the day with the latest buzz, so check back early and often. And if you really want the fresh scoops, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

  • Today is the Rule 5 draft at 9am eastern time. The Rays have the 16th pick.
  • Jayson Stark says the Rays are one of two teams on Roy Halladay’s “maybe” list of teams for whom he would approve a trade (there are 4 teams on the “yes” list). Stark adds that the Rays are “off-the-charts long shots,” and that they are on the list only because of geography…Well at least the Rays have geography going for them.
  • John Manuel of Baseball America lists Aneury Rodriguez, a Rays prospect, as one of the names that “have popped up,” in connection to the Rule 5 draft. Manuel calls Rodriguez a starter that could be stashed as a reliever on somebody’s roster.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPN.com says he “keeps hearing” Dioner Navarro’s name in connection with the Rangers.
  • The Red Sox waiver claim on Ramon Ramirez became official yesterday.


  1. Charles says:

    This is going to be off-topic, but I also follow the Astros from my time living near Lake Charles, LA, so I feel this must be said somewhere.

    I thought I'd seen it all when Pudge Rodriguez got 2 years & 6 million dollars from the Nationals.

    BUT THREE YEARS/FIFTEEN FRICKIN' MILLION DOLLARS FOR BRANDON LYON?!?!?! GAH! Who dropped Ed Wade on his head as a child?

  2. Charles says:

    Now, back on topic with the team that is run significantly more sanely.

    When do we think Crawford and/or Pena gets traded?

    - One of them before Spring Training?
    - Both before Spring Training?
    - One at the deadline?
    - Both at the deadline?

    I think Pena will be harder to trade. Crawford I think could fetch a better return, but he might be worth more at the deadline. Either way, I think at least one of those two guys is outta here before too long. The Rays spending $7 million on a relief pitcher without making a near-equivalent salary extraction seems out of character for them.

    • Don says:

      They are dumping Purcivel at $9mil , Aki at $4+mil, Navarro at $3mil+/-, maybe Wheeler at $3.5mil if they get Soriano....why not a $7 mil closer?
      Thats your "salary extractions"!

    • Also consider that Pena might be more open to a hometown discount on an extension, but he is also more easily replaced (1B with pop). My guess is the Rays will continue to explore deals for CC. Less than 50% he is traded though. I have no idea on Pena.

  3. Charles says:

    It's pretty interesting - the talk of the Rangers interest in Navarro ramped up at about the same time the talk of them trading Max Ramirez away started ramping up. Navarro as a backup now makes perfect sense for them, moreso now that terrible free agent catchers are getting multi-year offers from completely insane GMs.

  4. Brian H says:

    I am pretty sure that that are player labor rules that wont allow a contract to demand someone to decline arbitration. players union would be all over that shit I woulf think

    • When Manny Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers, his deal was reworked where the team options were removed and in exchange he agreed to decline arbitration. Now I suppose that it might not have been an official part of the contract, but that agreement was well-publicized.

  5. KyleS says:

    Rosenthal is also stating it's a non-guaranteed contract. Perhaps if he gets injured, we don't have to pay him? Would definitely be nice if there are injury exceptions built into this deal.

    • Justin says:

      Yeah, could someone explain what a non-guaranteed contract means?

    • Rosenthal has since corrected that. It is guaranteed. If Soriano had gone to arbitration the contract would be non-guaranteed. That is free agents, that accept arbitration get non-guaranteed deals. But from what I understand the only way a team can get out of it is if they can demonstate the player can't play at all during contract.

  6. Justin says:

    Prof, what do you think of this deal money and all? Second, money aside what do you think of the deal?

    • Money aside, I love the deal. Not only do the Rays get a real closer, but it makes the rest of the bullen better. I love that Howell can go back to doing what he does best in the 6/7/8 innings.

      But I have two worries. Can he stay healthy? Soriano has spent a lot of time on the DL. And does the mean that the Rays have to trade Crawford or Pena before the season?

      But even with those worries, I like the move. The Rays needed a dependable power arm at the backend of the bullpen and they got one.

      • Boxauthor says:

        I have a question...

        If the Rays can get the Cubs to pay for the difference in Bradley's and Burrell's contracts, that sticks even if the Rays trade Bradley right? So if they did the swap and then flip Bradley (who should be a lot more attractive to teams at $9 mil than at $21 mil.) to another team for a minor leaguer, then they save $9 mil. next year? No need to trade Crawford or Pena. Could use Aybar to DH or with all the platooning that could be going on next year there would always be someone to play DH.

        • Hmm? Interesting idea. Only problem I see is why wouldn't the Cubs just skip the Rays then and trade Bradley for the minor leaguer and get somebody they can use as opposed to Burrell whom they can't. But that is something to keep in mind should the deal go through.

  7. Amanda says:

    I think I just had a baseball-gasm. The Rays acquiring Soriano and me getting the MLB Network by switching to DirecTV, I just don't think it can get any better! (I couldn't sleep the other night and saw Bob Costas interviewing Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver together at 4 a.m. It was heaven!)

    There's got to be a caveat to "who will be traded at the deadline with all these acquisitions?" ... if the Rays are in serious title/pennant contention at the end of the season, plus if the crowds come back throughout the year, then I say nobody is traded. But if they're struggling even to contend for a wild card berth, then I'm with the Prof that it'll be CC before Pena. CC would be a big dog on another team and finally get the recognition he deserves.

    • Don says:

      Keep watching that MLB channel.....CC is a BIG DOG on this team.....
      In 2009 he was MVP in the ALL STAR Game.....hard to get much more

      • Amanda says:

        Gold Glove, perhaps? It's one thing to win an award when the world is forced to watch your performance because the All-Star game is the only game in town. It's another to remember your season-long performance of excellence when the likes of ESPN and the Baseball Writers choose to ignore you when end-of-year hardware is handed out. (I'm still pissed at the Baseball Tonight anchor (I think he was a replacement ... wasn't the regular) who said, "WE'VE got to get a better closer," after another late-inning Red Sox meltdown laste in the season. I mean Jeter? A Gold Glove? Really? I have better range at short than he does. He doesn't make errors because he can't get to half the balls that an average shortstop can.

        I'd love for CC to give the Rays the Lecavillier-like home-town discount. But I just don't see it happening.


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