The Rays signed relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit to a minor league deal after sitting out all of 2009 with a shoulder injury. Something we like to call the “Raysian Special”…

Benoit, 32, struggled through the 2008 season hurt and sat out last year recovering from rotator cuff surgery in January 2009. He has been throwing in the Dominican Republic and is expected to participate fully in camp with the idea he could be ready for the start of the regular season.

If he is anywhere close to 100%, Benoit will be on the opening day roster. And if Benoit is on the opening day roster, that might signal the end of Andy Sonnanstine’s career with the Rays.

Barring an injury, six of the seven bullpen spots are spoken for and Sonnanstine is the leading candidate for the final spot. The Duke does have minor league options, so he could go down to Durham and be the first relief pitcher on the shuttle in case of injury.

But if another team needs a starting pitcher, we have to think Sonny would be a solid option for a small-market team looking for a cheap arm. And if the Rays don’t have a need at the big league level, trading him may be more valuable than storing him in Durham “just in case.”


  • Stuart Sternberg says the payroll will be below $60 million in 2011. We will have more on this later this morning. [The Heater]
  • That powder blue alternate jersey will be officially unveiled on Wednesday evening (7pm) at two local Champs Sports stores. James Shields and Wade Davis will be at International Plaza and Jeff Niemann and Kelly Shoppach will be at Tyrone Mall.
  • We call them “powder blue” and some call them “Carolina blue,” but the Rays are calling them “sky blue.” Duh. For those in denial, do you still think the Rays mascot is still a fish?
  • The Rays are one of several teams that have shown interest in Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz, which means the Rays won’t sign him. They only like players when no other teams are interested. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Watching Durham Bulls Baseball projects the Durham Bulls roster. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
  • Former Rays writer Brittany Ghiroli is now covering the Orioles. [Britt’s Bird Watch]




  1. ben says:

    Payroll under 60 million?

    Goodbye Pena, goodbye Crawford.

    Why say that now?

    • Beth says:

      Ben, I agree that the timing is odd. We all know that keeping both or even one of these free agents is unlikely -- and I certainly don't want root for them to have lousy seasons to keep their value down. But doesn't it make sense for management to at least dangle the possibility of maintaining a higher payroll if the attendance numbers justify it? Jeez, Stu, give us an incentive to put down TV remotes and drive across the Howard Frankland Bridge!

  2. Don says:

    If signing Benoit means I never have to see "softball Sonnanstein" throw another pitch for the Rays.... I'm all for it!
    All the management/owner talk about payroll in the future is not to get fans to attend.... its for the high payroll players......If they don't perform they will be out of here....the avg. fan doesn't know/care what the payroll is... they want to see players who perform/win....they will come!


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