So what's next for Rays

The Rays are set at catcher, with Ryan Hanigan, pictured, expected to play the bulk of the time, maybe 110 games, and  Jose Molina able to serve, more appropriately, as a backup.

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The Rays are set at catcher, with Ryan Hanigan, pictured, expected to play the bulk of the time, maybe 110 games, and Jose Molina able to serve, more appropriately, as a backup.

4

December

So where does Tuesday's three-way trade that landed C Ryan Hanigan and RHP Heath Bell leave the Rays?

Well for one, not finished.

They still need a first baseman, they could use another bat for the bench and maybe another reliever. They have to find a new home for Jose Lobaton. And there is that slight matter of deciding whether to trade ace David Price, which could lead to another roster shuffle.

But here are some things we do know as of now:

* They are set at catcher, with Hanigan expected to play the bulk of the time, maybe 110 games, and  Jose Molina able to serve, more appropriately, as a backup. Though executive VP Andrew Friedman said they could go to spring training - in a less-than-ideal situation - with three catchers, expect Lobaton to be traded. Chatter Tuesday about the White Sox did not pan out, there is also talk the Mets could be a possibility.

* The bullpen looks to have depth at the back end, with Bell and Juan Carlos Oviedo, whose signing has yet to be announced, both with past closing success. The Rays have Joel Peralta and lefties Jake McGee and Alex Torres returning, and also have Mark Lowe signed to a minor-league deal. Executive VP Andrew Friedman said they would be open to adding another pitcher who can handle high-leverage innings. He also said they won't name a closer now, preferring at least to get to  spring training and see how they do.

* There are multiple possibilities at first base, both via trade and free agency, though one attractive option was lost late Tuesday when Justin Morneau agreed to a two-year deal with the Rockies. Among potential trade targets: the Mets' Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, Texas' Mitch Moreland, Miami's Logan Morrison, the Angels' Mark Trumbo. And among free agents: incumbent James Loney, Corey Hart, Lyle Overbay, maybe Kevin Youkilis or Mark Reynolds.

* The payroll is creeping up close to $70-million. The Rays now have about $42-million committed to 10 players (although they get $3.5-million from Arizona toward Bell's $9-million salary), and about $24-million more needed for their seven arbitration eligibles, including $13-million or so for Price. Plus they will have at least eight more players (such as Wil Myers, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb) that, even at close to the $500,000 minimum will add more than another $4-million to the total.

Signed Rays
RHP Heath Bell         $9M
3B Evan Longoria       $7.5M
2B Ben Zobrist         $7M
SS Yunel Escobar       $5M
OF David DeJesus       $4.25M
RHP Joel Peralta       $3M
C Ryan Hanigan         $2.75M
C Jose Molina          $1.75M
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo TBA
LHP Matt Moore         $1.1M

Arbitration eligible Rays
(projections from mlbtraderumors.com)
LHP David Price        $13.1M
OF Matt Joyce          $3.7M
RHP Jeremy Hellickson  $3.3M
INF/OF Sean Rodriguez  $1.3M
LHP Jake McGee         $1.2M
C Jose Lobaton         $1M
LHP Cesar Ramos        $700K

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 11:43am]

    

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