Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Reliever Dan Wheeler leaves Tampa Bay Rays for Boston Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — The losses have piled up for the Rays this offseason, with another Saturday as reliever Dan Wheeler signed with the Red Sox. While principal owner Stuart Sternberg is optimistic his team can remain competitive, he also is realistic about the difficulties given the soaring cost of free agents.

"It's discouraging," Sternberg said from the Sanderlin Family Center in St. Petersburg, where the Rays staff helped build a playground Saturday. "If guys were available who were really in our price range, we would have a lot more selection."

The choices are even more limited because Sternberg is cutting payroll — "a bunch" — from the franchise-record $75 million at the end of last season.

How much is unclear, Sternberg said, a product of what moves they consider worthy of making and, to a lesser degree, what moves their competitors make. As of now, they have close to $40 million committed.

"It's clearly going to be down a bunch from … last year. It's going to be up from … when we started (about $30 million by the end of 2006), and there's a wide gap in there," he said, noting they went to the World Series in 2008 with a $43 million payroll. "So I really don't know. It's a question of what's available."

The Rays knew retaining All-Star leftfielder Carl Crawford, whom Sternberg said "was special to me," wasn't a possibility. Sternberg hasn't heard from Crawford, but on seeing him get a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox, Sternberg said: "God bless him. Good luck to him, and I'm thrilled we and he were able to put him in a position to take care of his family for generations to come."

Wheeler, 33, who lives in Seminole, said there was mutual interest in staying with the Rays, whom he rejoined in July 2007. But Boston offered what the righty politely termed a better situation — a $3 million salary for 2011 and another $3 million in a vesting option for 2012.

"I wouldn't trade any of my time in Tampa Bay for anything," said Wheeler, who went 2-4 with a 3.35 ERA and three saves in 64 games last season. "It's unfortunately part of the game, the business side of it, and you move on. … Obviously, I'm from Rhode Island, and (the Red Sox) were my team growing up. So I'm definitely excited about it."

The Rays didn't offer Wheeler arbitration, so they don't get any draft pick compensation.

Obituary: Phil Cavarretta, who in 1945 won the National League MVP while leading the Cubs to their last World Series berth, died Friday in Lubbock, Texas. He was 94. The first baseman played 20 years with the Cubs before playing 77 games for the White Sox in 1954-55.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Reliever Dan Wheeler leaves Tampa Bay Rays for Boston Red Sox 12/18/10 [Last modified: Sunday, December 19, 2010 12:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  2. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  3. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  4. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.