Rays face Tuesday arbitration decisions
Rays officials are still deciding whether to offer arbitration by Tuesday night’s deadline to their three Type B free agents – C Gregg Zaun (who would appear most likely), LHP Brian Shouse, RHP Russ Springer.
By doing so, the Rays would get draft-pick compensation (between rounds 1 and 2) if they sign elsewhere, but also run the risk of the player accepting arbitration (by their Dec. 7 deadline) and thus being signed, with their salary to be determined by arbitration (and unlikely to go down).
The Rays have already declined $2-million options on Shouse and Zaun; Springer is said to be considering retirement.
The deadline also clarifies the market for any potential Type A free agents the Rays have interest in as they’ll know if they would lose their first-round pick for signing one.
The other non-ranked free agents are also covered by this deadline (RHP Chad Bradford, RHP Jason Isringhausen, RHP Troy Percival), but with no compensation attached to them there is little reason for a team to offer arbitration (in which players usually get raises) rather than negotiate on the open market.
For what it's worth, here's a link to a list of predictions by Tim Dierkes of the always interesting mlbtraderumors.com site. He expects the Rays to pass on all three of their potential free agents.
These arbitration decisions are unrelated to the ones teams have to make by Dec. 12 for the players that remain under their control. The Rays at the moment have 10 eligible players but seem unlikely to tender contracts to all: RHP Grant Balfour, SS Jason Bartlett, RHP Jeff Bennett, LHP Randy Choate, RHP Lance Cormier, RHP Matt Garza, OF Gabe Gross, LHP J.P. Howell, C Dioner Navarro, CF B.J. Upton.
Also, Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman will hold his pre-winter meetings media sesson on Tuesday, so check back late afternoon for updates.