Goodbye Mr. Hollins
In an effort to create space on the 40-man roster, the Devil Rays on Tuesday decided to not tender a contract to OF Damon Hollins, making him a free agent.
They did so ostensibly so there is room to add Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura, who they remain optimistic about signing by Friday's deadline, as well as a potential utility infielder. With Hollins gone, the roster is currently at 38.
The move didn't save them much - if any - money, as Hollins was going to make around $400,000 next season and any replacement (rookie Elijah Dukes' chances just went up) would make at least $380,000. It really was more about the roster spot, and the flexibility it affords them.
Plus, by dropping Hollins now, the Rays would have the option - say, should they trade Rocco Baldelli or Carl Crawford and suddenly have a need for a veteran - to resign Hollins and bring him straight to the majors.
Hollins, 32, hit .228 in 121 games last season with 15 home runs and 33 RBIs. He had spent most of 13 seasons in the minors until the Rays called him up during the 2005 season. Hollins was a steady, low-maintenance veteran around the clubhouse, was versatile enough to play all three outfield spots, and was a close friend of Crawford.
Also, the Rays continued negotiations with agent Alan Nero and remain optimistic about having a deal with Iwamura in advance of Friday's midnight deadline.
And there appears to be zero truth to the latest Rocco Baldelli trade rumor - a three-way deal with the Reds and Blue Jays that would have landed Baldelli in Cincinnati.