ST. PETERSBURG — Though they went out with a whimper in the playoffs, the Rays put together a strong offensive season overall.
Enough so that three players — Randy Arozarena, Yandy Diaz and Isaac Paredes — are finalists for individual Silver Slugger awards, which are chosen by a vote of league managers and coaches based on offensive performance.
The Rays are also among four nominees for a new team award, selected based on offensive stats and a fan vote that was done via mlb.com. All winners will be announced Nov. 9.
Paredes, who led the Rays with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs while hitting .250 with an .840 OPS, is a finalist among third basemen and also utility players, a category that was added last year.
At third, he is competing with Houston’s Alex Bregman (.262 average, 25 homers, 98 RBIs, .804 OPS), Boston’s Rafael Devers (.271, 33, 100, .851) and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez (.282, 24, 80, .831).
The other utility finalists are Los Angeles’ Brandon Drury (.262, 26, 83, .803), Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson (.255, 28, 82, .814), and Toronto’s Whit Merrifield (.272, 11, 67, .700). Qualifications for the utility category include playing at least 20 games at two different positions and at least 100 overall.
Diaz won the American League batting title with a .330 average while posting a career-high 22 home runs, 78 RBIs and .932 OPS. Other first basemen in the running are Boston’s Tristan Casas (.263, 24, 65, .856); Texas’ Nathaniel Lowe (.262, 17, 82, .775), the ex-Ray and 2022 winner; and Detroit’s Spencer Torkelson (.233, 31, 94, .758).
Arozarena is a finalist for the third straight season, having yet to finish in the top three. He logged his third straight 20-20 season, hitting 23 homers and stealing 22 bases, posting a .254 average with 83 RBIs and a .789 OPS.
The other finalists for the three outfield spots are Texas’ Adolis Garcia (.245, 39, 107, .836), New York’s Aaron Judge (.267, 37, 75, 1.019), Chicago’s Luis Robert Jr. (.264, 38, 80, .857), Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez (.275, 32, 103, .818), Baltimore’s Anthony Santander (.257, 28, 95, .797) and Houston’s Kyle Tucker (.284, 29, 112, .886), the Tampa native. Judge and Rodriguez were 2022 winners.
The Rays set team records in scoring 860 runs (second in the AL), hitting 230 homers (fourth) and posting a .445 slugging percentage (second). They finished second in the league with a .260 average and .776 OPS.
• Pitcher Tyler Glasnow was a finalist for the Players Choice American League Comeback Player award that was won by White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks. Orioles first baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn also was a finalist.
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• Free agency filing opened Thursday and runs through Monday. The Rays have three eligible players: relievers Chris Devenski, Jake Diekman and Robert Stephenson. They also have to clear room by Monday to reinstate seven players from the 60-day injured list and shortstop Wander Franco, who was taken off administrative leave Thursday in a procedural move.
Among those who could be dropped or traded: pitchers Jalen Beeks, Josh Fleming, Cole Sulser; catcher Christian Bethancourt; infielder Tristan Gray; outfielder Raimel Tapia.
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