Market provides expensive relief
The Rays have made it clear their top priority this off-season is to acquire relievers, as they are looking at restocking almost an entire bullpen. That's a tough enough chore for any team in any year , but even more so since they have a limited budget. And worse, the contracts (in terms of dollars and length) that relievers are getting on the free agent market - and not just the closers - has been astronomical.
Thus far, 11 relievers have agreed to multi-year deals, with a few other big names, topped by 2010 Rays closer Rafael Soriano still on the board. Here's a look at the big-money deals:
Player, new team Contract Old team
RHP Joaquin Benoit, Tigers $16.5M, 3 years Rays
LHP Scott Downs, Angels $15M, 3 years Jays
RHP Jesse Crain, WSox $13M, 3 years Twins
RHP Matt Guerrier, Dodgers $12M, 3 years Twins
RHP Bobby Jenks, RSox $12M, 2 years WSox
RHP JJ Putz, D'backs $10M, 2 years WSox
LHP Pedro Felicano, Yanks $8M, 2 years Mets
RHP H. Takahashi, Angels $8M, 2 years Mets
LHP Randy Choate, Marlins $2.5M, 2 years Rays
Re-signing with their teams: Mariano Rivera, Yankees, $30M over 2 years; Jose Contreras, Phillies, $5.5M over 2 years.