The Rays were busy last night making some final roster decision before going after free agents and the Winter meetings.
The Rays signed Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, B.J. Upton, and Dan Johnson to tender contracts, keeping them around for next season.
The Rays cut Dioner Navarro, Lancer Cormier, Willy Aybar, and J.P. Howell.
Navarro being cut is not a big surprise. He decided not to join the Rays team in the playoffs as the emergency catcher and had a terrible season. It was time the Rays cut him and move on. Lance Cormier had a sub-par season, but there is still interest in trying to bring him back on a lower contract because of the lack of arms the Rays have in the bullpen. Willy Aybar was a bit too pricey for the Rays and an underperforming pinch-hitter does not collect a high salary. The Rays want to bring him back, but at the right price.
Howell being cut is due to his injury and delayed return. The Rays did not want to spend the high dollar on a player that is as injured as he is. Howell wants to return and the Rays want to bring him back, which is a good sign. Chances are both sides will reach a deal soon, avoiding arbitration and a big contract that could hurt the Rays.