ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays cut loose outfielder Guillermo Heredia, but hung on to reliever Chaz Roe by offering him and their four other remaining arbitration eligible players contracts by Monday’s deadline.
Heredia, 28, was known for his upbeat personality and energy but didn’t contribute much on the field, hitting only .225 with five homers, 20 RBIs and a .668 OPS while filling in at all three outfield spots, making 35 starts in center. The Rays will look for an upgrade and could make other use of the open roster spot, but also will keep talking about a potential return with the right-handed hitter, who was projected to make only $1.1 million.
Retaining Roe was also a topic of discussion, especially with a projected salary of $2.2 million. The Rays decided, for now anyway, to keep Roe though he has been used primarily against right-handed hitters and new rules for 2020 will limit those type of specialty roles.
Part of that decision was based on adjustments Roe made near the end of last season, and that could help him be more effective against lefty hitters. Also, arbitration salaries are not guaranteed until opening day, so the Rays still have the option to let Roe go before then paying only a fraction of his salary (one-sixth or one-fourth, depending on when) or to trade him.
Four other arbitration-eligible players were tendered contracts: Outfielder Tommy Pham (projected $8.6 million salary), starter Tyler Glasnow ($1.9 million), reliever Oliver Drake ($1.1 million), infielder Daniel Robertson ($1.1 million).
Among players made free agents in being non-tendered by other teams that could be of interest are two former Rays right-handed power hitters coming off injuries, Steven Souza Jr. and C.J. Cron. Another ex-Ray, Tim Beckham, was non-tendered by Seattle. That market can be fruitful; last year the Rays signed outfielder Avisail Garcia after he was non-tendered by the White Sox.
First baseman/DH Jesus Aguilar, designated for assignment last week in advance of being non-tendered, was claimed off unconditional release waivers by the Marlins, so the Rays, under one of those weird baseball rules, get $1 for him.
The Rays addressed two other arbitration cases ahead of the deadline, re-signing catcher Mike Zunino for $4.5 million (just under his projected $4.9 million) with a 2021 option, and designating for assignment and then releasing infielder Matt Duffy ($2.9 million projected salary).
* The Rays were named Organization of the Year by Baseball America.
* Jefferson High and USF product Jimmy Herget was claimed by the Rangers off waivers from the Reds. The right-handed pitcher debuted in the majors in July.
Contact Marc Topkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.