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 expected to let free agent market play itself out

The free agent signing period officially will open at 12:01 Sunday morning, and for the Rays it couldn't start soon enough.

In years past, free agency wasn't that big a deal. The Rays weren't looking to do much — save for the signings of Troy Percival and Pat Burrell, and you can decide how those worked out — and didn't have much to lose.

But this year is different.

With the payroll being slashed — and how much still undetermined — the Rays will have to be extremely prudent in any additions they make, literally not being able to afford any mistakes.

Executive VP Andrew Friedman said there are "select players" they're prepared to be "more aggressive with," but they are still likely to let the market play out.

As, or more, important are their own free agents. Not the big names that will dominate the national headlines — the Rays know Carl Crawford and closer Rafael Soriano are gone — but some of the other nine whose re-signing could make a huge difference in their 2011 chances, such as relievers Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit and Randy Choate, and maybe 1B Carlos Peña.

"In large part, it's going to be market-based," Friedman said. "There are a number of our guys we would definitely like to have back, but they earned the right to be free agents and they want to see what's out there. If we're able to reach an overlap, then we'll continue the relationship, which is obviously ideal in a number of instances."

The Rays' primary interest in what happens to Crawford (Angels, Tigers, Red Sox, Nationals, Rangers, Giants?) and Soriano (Angels, White Sox) is essentially limited to how it impacts their draft pick compensation.

For Type A players — Balfour, Crawford, Soriano, Wheeler — who are offered arbitration by the Nov. 23 deadline and decline, they get two picks: the signing team's first-round (or second if the team is among the bottom 15 finishers) and a compensation pick. For the Type B's — Benoit, Choate, Brad Hawpe, Peña, Chad Qualls — who decline arbitration, they get just a compensation pick. For Rocco Baldelli and Gabe Kapler, they wouldn't get anything. (A free agent who accepts arbitration is considered re-signed; salary to be determined.)

RAYS RUMBLINGS: An immediate benefit of Evan Longoria's long-term deal: He otherwise would have been eligible for arbitration this offseason as a Super 2, though he does get a raise from $2 million to $2.5 million as consolation. … OF/1B Leslie Anderson, the Cuban signee with a chance to compete for a 2011 job, was the Rays' lone rep in Saturday's Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game after hitting .304 in 17 games. … From the rumored rumor dept.: The Nationals and Cubs with interest in Peña, the Rockies in trading for James Shields. … It's one thing if the Yankees don't want to spend the money on Crawford, but it's quite another to see New York media suggest Brett Gardner is a better player. … The spring opener is Feb. 26 in Port Charlotte against Pittsburgh. … Joe Maddon gave a strong endorsement for former Angels coaching colleague Ron Roenicke to get the Brewers' manager's job. … The Rays on Monday will open a "store" at the Tampa Junior Achievement BizTown center, where fifth-graders operate the businesses. … C A.J. Pierzynski lists the Rays among good fits if he's not re-signed by the White Sox.

.Key dates

Sunday: Start of free agency

Tuesday: AL Gold Glove awards announced

Thur.: Silver Slugger awards

Nov. 15: AL rookie of the year

Nov. 16-18: GM/owners meetings, Orlando

Nov. 17: AL manager of the year

Nov. 18: AL Cy Young award

Nov. 23: AL MVP, deadline to offer arbitration to free agents

Nov. 30: Deadline for free agents to accept arbitration

Dec. 2: Deadline to tender contracts

Dec. 6-9: Winter meetings, Orlando

Tampa Bay Rays expected to let free agent market play itself out 11/06/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 6, 2010 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)