ST. PETERSBURG — Setup man Joel Peralta very much wanted to return to the Rays, and the team had significant interest in having him back.
So after a few weeks of on and off talks and a couple of offers from other teams, they struck a deal Monday, subject to a physical: $6 million over two years, with a 2015 option for $2.5 million.
"Some teams offered a little bit more money, but I got what I thought I was worth and I was happy with it," Peralta told the Times from the Dominican Republic. "I didn't want to go anywhere else."
Peralta, who will turn 37 in March, has been a key piece of the Rays bullpen over the past two seasons, making an American League-most 147 appearances and going 5-10, 3.27 with eight saves. Often facing the key hitters in opposing orders, he allowed a .194 average, striking out 145 in 1342/3 innings and allowing 93 hits and 35 walks. He led the majors in 2012 with 37 holds and also was suspended eight games after umpires found excessive pine tar in his glove June 19.
The Rays, who last week picked up closer Fernando Rodney's $2.5 million option, have interest in keeping their bullpen band together, planning talks with their other two free agents, lefty J.P. Howell and right-hander Kyle Farnsworth. Lefty Jake McGee remains under team control.
Price wins Players Choice award
The AL Cy Young Award remains the big prize, but Rays lefty David Price was thrilled Monday to be voted by his peers the Players Choice award as the league's Outstanding Pitcher.
"It's definitely very cool," Price said. "To be able to gain their respect, I think is very special."
Price led the AL (and was second in the majors) with a 2.56 ERA and shared the AL lead with 20 wins.
Price also won the Players Choice award in 2010 but finished second in the Cy Young voting. This year, he is hoping for a double: "I would love to win that award."
The other finalists in the mid-September voting were Chicago's Chris Sale and Los Angeles' Jered Weaver. Notably excluded was Detroit's Justin Verlander, whom many view as Price's prime competition for the Cy Young.
Around the nation
ORTIZ DEAL COMPLETE: David Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox since helping Boston end an 86-year World Series drought in 2004, finalized a $26 million, two-year contract. The deal for the soon-to-be 37-year-old could be worth up to $30 million if he avoids another significant Achilles tendon injury next year.
ASTROS: Eduardo Perez, who spent two seasons with the Rays, was named bench coach and former big-league pitcher Dennis Martinez was hired as bullpen coach to complete the staff of new manager Bo Porter.
CARDINALS: John Mabry was officially promoted to hitting coach to replace Mark McGwire, who is expected to take the same job with the Dodgers.
MARINERS: Oliver Perez agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract to remain the team's left-handed relief specialist.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.