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Free agency period begins for Rays

Fernando Rodney, the Rays’ closer the past two seasons, is eligible for free agency, and Tampa Bay might be interested in bringing him back.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Fernando Rodney, the Rays’ closer the past two seasons, is eligible for free agency, and Tampa Bay might be interested in bringing him back.

The end of the World Series means the official start of offseason work for the Rays.

Nine Rays were among 147 big-leaguers who became free agents as of Thursday morning, but though players can talk with other teams, they can't sign elsewhere until 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

The Rays have interest in retaining some of the nine — such as first baseman James Loney, closer Fernando Rodney, catcher Jose Molina and possibly DH Delmon Young and right-handers Jesse Crain and Jamey Wright — but are not expected to make any pre-emptive deals before they hit the open market. Other newly free Rays include right-hander Roberto Hernandez, infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson and DH Luke Scott.

The Rays also in the next few days have to act on options they hold on four players: second baseman Ben Zobrist ($7 million) and shortstop Yunel Escobar ($5 million) are obvious keepers, while outfielder David DeJesus ($6.5 million) and right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo ($2 million) are not as clear.

Though contracts with the coaches expired Thursday, all are expected to be retained.

Also, Sun Sports will debut its postseason special at 10 p.m. Saturday.

>>fast facts

Rays free agents

• RHP Jesse Crain

• RHP Roberto Hernandez

• INF/OF Kelly Johnson

• 1B James Loney

• C Jose Molina

• RHP Fernando Rodney

• DH Luke Scott

• RHP Jamey Wright

• DH Delmon Young

Rays with options

• OF David DeJesus ($6.5 million)

• SS Yunel Escobar ($5 million)

• RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo ($2 million)

• 2B Ben Zobrist ($7 million)

>>fast facts

Rays free agents

• RHP Jesse Crain

• RHP Roberto Hernandez

• INF/OF Kelly Johnson

• 1B James Loney

• C Jose Molina

• RHP Fernando Rodney

• DH Luke Scott

• RHP Jamey Wright

• DH Delmon Young

Rays with options

• OF David DeJesus ($6.5 million)

• SS Yunel Escobar ($5 million)

• RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo ($2 million)

• 2B Ben Zobrist ($7 million)

Free agency period begins for Rays 10/31/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 31, 2013 11:12pm]

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