Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays tender contracts to all but outfielder Ben Francisco

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays opted to keep Ryan Roberts as part of their infield mix and Burke Badenhop in their bullpen, but they declined to tender a contract to outfielder Ben Francisco by Friday's midnight deadline.

Francisco, who hit .228 in 24 games after being acquired Aug. 31 from Houston, made $1.54 million and was projected to make close to $2 million. With the free agent loss of B.J. Upton, the Rays are looking for another outfielder.

Roberts appeared to be a candidate to be nontendered. He hit .214 in 60 games after being acquired July 24, made $2.01 million and is in line for an increase to around $3 million. The Rays haven't set their plans for the middle infield, but one scenario is that Ben Zobrist stays at shortstop and Roberts plays second.

Badenhop, who made $1.075 million last season while pitching in 66 games with a 3.03 ERA, is projected for an increase to around $1.6 million.

As expected, the Rays tendered contracts to American League Cy Young Award winner David Price, right-hander Jeff Niemann, outfielders Sam Fuld and Matt Joyce, and infielder Sean Rodriguez. Among players nontendered by other teams who could interest the Rays: first baseman Mark Reynolds (Orioles) and first baseman/DH Dan Johnson (White Sox).

Home for Maddon project: Manager Joe Maddon was in his hometown, Hazleton, Pa., for a landmark development with his Hazleton Integration Project: the purchase of a building that will become the Hazleton One Community Center. "Obviously it's a big first step," he said by phone. "It's outstanding … how far we've come in such a short period of time." Maddon and project organizers plan for the center eventually to be the site for athletics, academics, adult education and activities such as drama, cooking and music. Maddon is working to help the large Hispanic contingent in Hazleton become more assimilated in the community.

Around the league: Philip Humber, who pitched a perfect game in April for the White Sox, was picked off waivers by the Astros and agreed to a one-year contract for $800,000. The right-hander, 29, was 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 appearances last season (16 starts). … The Giants didn't tender a contract to closer Brian Wilson. … The Braves shipped injury-troubled pitcher Tommy Hanson to the Angels for former closer Jordan Walden, clearing a rotation spot for Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado or another young starter. Also, they nontendered pitcher Jair Jurrjens, a 2011 All-Star demoted to the minors last season.

Reports: mets, Wright agree to biggest deal: David Wright and the Mets agreed to an eight-year, $138 million contract extension, the largest guarantee in team history, reports said. Wright, a six-time All-Star third baseman and the team career leader in hits and RBIs, must pass a physical to complete the deal, which surpasses Johan Santana's six-year, $137.5 million contract. The deal runs through 2020, when Wright will be 38.

Report: Manny tested positive for testosterone: The substance that caused Manny Ramirez to test positive for a banned substance while with the Rays in April 2011 was testosterone, the Associated Press reported. He retired rather than face a 100-game suspension for his second failed drug test but changed his mind that December. After signing a minor-league deal with Oakland this year, Ramirez, 40, asked to be released in June without reaching the majors.

Poll says no 2013 Hall for Big 3: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa don't have enough votes to get into the Hall of Fame next year, according to an Associated Press poll of Baseball Writers' Association of America voters. With steroid scandals still on the minds of association members, who vote for the Hall, the trio failed to muster 50 percent support among 112 voters contacted, nearly one-fifth of the eligible voters. Candidates need 75 percent for election.

Park retires: Chan Ho Park, the first South Korean-born player in the majors and a 2001 All-Star, announced his retirement. Park, 39, holds the major-league record for wins by an Asian pitcher (124).

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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