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Non-tenders: Howell, Aybar, Cormier, Navarro



UPDATE, 10:41: Official word is Rays have non-tendered J.P. Howell, Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro and Lance Cormier.

Exec VP Andrew Friedman was confident however they could re-sign Howell, which indicates they are more likely just working around the rules that allow for only a 20 percent cut in salary if a player goes to arbitration. Howell made $1.8-million last season and didn't pitch due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. "I'd be surprised if we weren't able to work something out,'' he said.

Friedman said they also have interest in bringing back Aybar and Cormier but it was more important now to have flexibility.  This also confirms that they tendered Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Dan Johnson, Andy Sonnanstine, B.J. Upton.

DEVELOPING: 1B/DH Dan Johnson and RHP Andy Sonnanstine will be tendered contracts by the Rays. Reliever Lance Cormier has been told by the Rays that he won't be tendered a contract, making him a free agent.

Cormier becomes the seventh member of the 2010 bullpen to become a free agent, as the Rays face the potential of a near total overhaul, with the possibility that Sonnastine could be the only returnee.

Cormier, who was in line for a raise close to $2-million after making $1.2-million, said there were no negotiations on a pre-deadline deal. But he said his dicussion with executive VP Andrew Friedman was amicable and both sides agreed to stay in touch with the possibility he could return.  "There were definitely no bridges burned,'' Cormier said. "I'd love to come back. I enjoyed playing there, my family enjoyed living there. We'll definitely keep talking.''

Cormier said he didn't which way the Rays were going to go. "With everyone leaving, and especially with (Grant) Balfour declining arbitration, I thought I might have a better chance to get tendered, but it's a business,'' Cormier said. "They have a lot of uncertainty, and my position was not a priority. They need a ninth inning guy, then an eighth-inning guy, then a seventh-inning guy. I understand totally. I understand the process.''

C Dioner Navarro was also going to be non-tendered, but there has been no official word.

The Rays also were expected to tender SS Jason Bartlett, CF B.J. Upton, RHP Matt Garza.

Still to be decided were INF Willy Aybar and LHP J.P. Howell.

[Last modified: Saturday, January 1, 2011 12:15am]


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