As the Rays start talking in earnest about changes for next season, they have not ruled out keeping at least one of their potential free agents.
Though SS Asdrubal Cabrera is fully expected to find the multiyear deal he seeks elsewhere, the team could bring back DH/OF John Jaso or OF/DH Grady Sizemore, just probably not both.
Jaso, in the half-season he was healthy, was arguably the team's best left-handed hitter, evidenced as much by his .380 on-base percentage as the grind-it-out quality of his at-bats.
After making $3.175 million this past season, Jaso would seem to be headed somewhere in the two-year, $10 million range. That he lives on St. Pete Beach, likes playing for the Rays and isn't an every-last-dollar guy could work in the team's favor. That Jaso, 32, doesn't hit a lot of homers (five in 185 at-bats), isn't a particularly good outfielder and is unsure about going back to catching after multiple concussions could cause them to pause.
Sizemore, 33, was a somewhat surprisingly effective lefty hitter, a .746 on-base plus slugging percentage with six homers in 175 at-bats, but his defense was lacking at times. He might have trouble finding a big-league deal elsewhere, and the Rays could take a low-risk bargain in the $1 million range.
"We will certainly have conversations with a couple of the guys who are free agents and see how our team shakes out, how the market for those players shakes out," baseball operations president Matt Silverman said.
"They certainly are going to want to test the market and see what's out there, and we will continue to stay in touch with them. At the same time we are managing a payroll so we have to fit within those constraints. There aren't going to be any early decisions, I imagine."
BALLERS: Rays prospects playing for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League include INF Daniel Robertson (who could parlay a strong showing into a more serious look at the open shortstop job), 1B/OF Jake Bauers, 1B Casey Gillaspie, RHPs Buddy Borden, Mike Franco, Brad Schreiber and Hunter Wood. … A group of younger prospects playing for Brisbane in the Australian league that starts next week includes 2013 first-round pick C Nick Ciuffo, INF Riley Unroe, OF Justin Williams, OF Bralin Jackson and C Maxx Tissenbaum.
RAYS RUMBLINGS: 3B coach Charlie Montoyo's name has surfaced in several media reports as a candidate for the Mariners manager's job, though Tim Bogar, a former Rays coach, is reportedly the frontrunner. … The Rays are set with all their coaches expected back, but it shouldn't take long for Tampa product Dave Magadan to get a new gig after a mutual parting with the Rangers following three years as their hitting coach. … Among RHP Chris Archer's activities on his MLB ambassador tour of Taiwan was meeting prospect RHP Chih-Wei Hu, who was acquired from Minnesota in the Kevin Jepsen deal. … The change in Triple-A hitting coaches appears to be more about promoting Ozzie Timmons than anything Dave Myers didn't do. … Former player personnel director Matt Arnold will have considerable responsibilities in Milwaukee as the top assistant to new GM David Stearns. The interesting twist is that among the candidates, Stearns was chosen for the job over Rays VP Chaim Bloom. … The Rays will look first internally to replace Arnold, likely in the next few weeks.
Contact Marc Topkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.