Wheeler signs for $2.875-million

15

January

The Rays crossed one potential arbitration case off their list Tuesday, agreeing to terms with reliever Dan Wheeler on a one-year deal for $2.875-million.
"I'm very pleased with the contract, that it works for myself and for the team,'' Wheeler said. "Now that that's behind us, I'm looking forward to start playing baseball again, now we can start having some fun and win some games.''
Wheeler, acquired from Houston in July, made $2.1-million last season. He pitched in 25 games for the Rays, going 0-5 with a 5.76 ERA. For the season, he was 1-9, 5.30 with 11 saves. Overall Wheeler, who pitched for the Rays from 1999-2001,is 12-26 with a 4.09 ERA and 25 saves.
With the acquisition of closer Troy Pervical, manager Joe Maddon plans to use Al Reyes in the eighth inning and Wheeler in the seventh. Wheeler said that was fine with him: "Seventh- or eighth-inning, it doesn't matter - you have to make your pitches and get outs. ... Sometimes there's bigger outs in the seventh inning than the eighth inning.''
Wheeler could earn an additional $25,000 for making appearing in at least 65 games; he has pitched in at least 70 over the past three seasons, ranking eighth in the majors with 216 appearances over that span.
The Rays continue negotiations with their three other arbitration-eligible players - OF/DH Jonny Gomes, LHP Scott Kazmir and 1B Carlos Pena - with a Friday deadline to cut off talks. Executive VP Andrew Friedman's policy is to cease negotiations once salary figures are exchanged, which is scheduled to happen Friday.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:33am]

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