If only they were free ....
The Rays didn't have much chance to sign any of the top-notch free agents given the soaring prices and their budget constrictions. But the market will be infused with new names on Tuesday night as teams cut loose players rather than tender them contracts.
Players eligible for arbitration are usually the prime targets, because teams don't want to give them huge raises as a result of the process. Non-tendered players can be signed for any price. Some interesting names are being mentioned as possible non-tenders - pitchers Joel Pineiro, Rodrigo Lopez, and Chris Reitsma; infielders Marcus Giles and Ben Broussard; and outfielder Brad Wilkerson.
Two players the Rays traded to the Dodgers are also candidates to be set free - pitcher Mark Hendrickson and catcher Toby Hall.
The Rays made one of the best signings last season when they plucked Ty Wigginton off the non-tender pile for $675,000.
Also, the Rays on Thursday will announce formalization of the plan to move the May 15-17 series with Texas to the Disney Wide World of Sports complex.