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)

Tampa Bay Rays complete deal with reliever Nelson

ST. PETERSBURG — In the Rays' world of finite resources and roster management, the makeup of the bullpen is often going to be in transition from one season to the next.

They hope the one constant is success.

The Rays were one of the best in the majors last season, and with the formal completion Tuesday of right-hander Joe Nelson's one-year, $1.3-million deal, they feel they can be again in 2009.

"Our bullpen was a large part of our success in 2008, and our quest is to have one of the top bullpens in the American League on an annual basis," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said in a statement. "Adding Joe certainly helps on that front."

With Troy Percival recovering from back surgery, it's not clear if the Rays will have a set closer, at least at first. Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, Chad Bradford and lefty J.P Howell are set to return, and Nelson is a versatile type who can pitch in any role.

That leaves one or two spots open depending on Percival, and a couple of starters who may not make the rotation and are out of options, in Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann, as potential candidates. Plus they selected Derek Rodriguez in the Rule 5 draft.

Nelson, 34, went 3-1 with one save and a 2.00 ERA in a career-high 59 games for the Marlins last season, ranking third among NL relievers in ERA and 10th overall.

The Rays' primary goal is to add an impact bat, and they have been talking to a number of free agents, but they could pursue additional relief help as the market evolves.

Also, utility infielder Ray Olmedo, who played parts of five seasons with the Reds and Jays, signed a minor-league contract, according to Baseball America.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Tampa Bay Rays complete deal with reliever Nelson 12/30/08 [Last modified: Friday, January 2, 2009 1:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud and corruption


    NEW YORK — Four college basketball coaches were among those facing federal charges Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said.

    The coaches work at Arizona, pictured, Oklahoma State, Auburn University and the University of Southern California. [Getty Images]
  2. Steinbrenner alum Erika Peitersen makes instant impact for UT soccer


    TAMPA — University of Tampa women's soccer coach Erin Switalski said it's always difficult to predict a freshman's performance.

    University of Tampa midfielder/forward Erika Peitersen (Courtesy of UT)
  3. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  4. No gimmes in scrappy Wiregrass Ranch's volleyball district

    Volleyball Preps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch High coach Michelle Davis is realistic about her volleyball team this season. They will scrap for every point. They will never give up. They will encourage each other no matter what.

     Wiregrass Ranch High School girls volleyball player Jaizah Anderson (2) gets ready to spike the ball during Thursday's (9/21/17) match with Zephyrhills High School in Zephyrhills, Fla.
  5. Steelers' Villanueva apologizes, says he didn't intend to stand alone during anthem (w/video)


    PITTSBURGH — Alejandro Villanueva just wanted to get a glimpse of the American flag, the symbol he wore on his military uniform during three tours in Afghanistan before beginning an unlikely journey from Army Ranger to the NFL.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]