Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Exodus of free agents nets Tampa Bay Rays multitude of draft picks

It's hard to see through the parade of Rays leaving, but there will be some good to come from the mass exodus of free agents. And it should be clearly in focus come June, when the Rays have a stunning 10 selections among the top 60 or so picks in the draft.

Under baseball's complicated compensation process, the Rays get two additional first-round picks, Boston's No. 24 (for the signing of Carl Crawford) and the Yankees' No. 31 (for Rafael Soriano), plus seven "sandwich" picks between the first and second round, one for each of the rated free agents they lost.

Add in Oakland's second-round pick (for signing RHP Grant Balfour) and the Rays' own first- (No. 32) and second-round picks and, pending some final adjustment to the draft order, the Rays would have 12 of the first 90 or so picks.

Even better, it's considered one of the deepest draft classes of recent years.

"There's a nice balance of everything, hitters and pitchers, college and high school," Baseball America's Jim Callis said. "With all the picks the Rays have, they should be able to address just about any area they want."

Making it more interesting, this is considered the last draft before Major League Baseball implements a strict slotting system for bonuses, so teams are likely to be overly aggressive in pursuit of premium high school prospects.

This excess for the Rays will come at a cost, however, and that will be an interesting part of the equation, to see how much they'll spend to maximize their opportunity. By some estimates, they'd need to budget $12 million to $15 million for this draft. The average per team the past three years has been $6.3 million with the Rays slightly above that: $9.9 million in 2008, $4 million in 2009 (when they didn't sign their top two picks) and $7.2 million in 2010.

Some of that money is likely to come from this season's savings, part of their "reallocation" of resources, including some of the $11 million they saved by trading SS Jason Bartlett and RHP Matt Garza as they reduce payroll.

NAME GAME: From the names left on the board, figure the Rays would prefer LHP Brian Fuentes over RHP Jon Rauch as closer and Vlad Guerrero as the best of the DH bunch. Another scenario is a lefty/righty combo such as Johnny Damon (or Russell Branyan) and Andruw Jones.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: With Tues­day's deadline to exchange arbitration figures and, under team policy, proceed to a hearing, settlements seem likely with CF B.J. Upton and RHP Andy Sonnanstine. … C John Jaso spent part of the offseason exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico and New Year's Eve in a cabin on a mountain. Of course he did. … OF Josh Sale, the 2010 top pick, now has tattoos covering both forearms, though with meaning — his mom's favorite Bible verse on one, the other a tribute to his Samoan heritage. … With Andy Freed signed through 2013, it follows that radio partner Dave Wills will get extended at least as far. And Todd Kalas will be "happily returning" to his pre-, in- and postgame TV duties, plus calling at least five games. … RHP Lance Cormier, the lone unsigned free agent from the bullpen, is talking to the Rays and three others. … One benefit to the Rays of the Yankees signing Soriano is the perceived split in the New York front office. Also, the Yankees will end up paying their bullpen (Mariano Rivera, Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Dave Robertson and a long man) about $35 million, which is more than the Rays' total payroll right now. … Callis also said: "It's scary to think how much better the Rays would be right now" had they drafted C Buster Posey instead of SS Tim Beckham in 2008.

>>fast facts

Launching pad

Pitching in the Rays' 2010 bullpen turned out to be a lucrative position based on the deals signed by six free agents:

Pitcher New team MoneyYears

Grant Balfour A's * $8.1 millionTwo

Joaquin Benoit Tigers $16.5 millionThree

Randy Choate Marlins $2.5 millionTwo

Chad Qualls Padres * $2 millionOne +

Rafael Soriano Yankees * $35 millionThree

Dan Wheeler Red Sox $3 millionOne +

* Not final yet + plus option

Exodus of free agents nets Tampa Bay Rays multitude of draft picks 01/15/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 15, 2011 6:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener

    College

    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.