The Rays beat Jeff Niemann yesterday in arbitration. Neimann will make $2.75 million next season. He filed for $3.2 million. Even though he lost, Niemann will still make nearly 300% more than the $903,000 he made last season. The win improves the Rays to 6-0 all time in arbitration cases and 5-0 under Andrew Friedman. The Rays had six arbitration-eligible players this year, and Niemann was the only one to have a hearing.
Even though he didn’t win, Niemann will still have a nice raise for next season. Considering he was only able to muster a 11-7 record with a 4.06 ERA last season, I would be pretty happy if I were him. If the Rays were to trade a starter before the season starts, I would hope it would be Niemann since he will make more than Wade Davis next season. For a small market team like the Rays, every penny counts.
Rays News and Notes
- The Rays completed the Russ Canzler trade today, getting $100,000 from the Indians. I would consider the Indians the winner of this trade, but $100,000 is good money considering Canzler was probably not going to make the team next season.
- Marc Topkin has some more information about Rays Fan Fest on The Heater. Fan Fest will be February 18 this year and is free to attend, as always. Wristbands for autographs did go up in price this year, however, to $50. All proceeds will go to the ALS Association.
- Matt Garza settled on a $9.5 million contract with the Cubs yesterday to avoid arbitration. Now the question is will the Cubs actually pay him that money? Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Cubs will continue to field offers for Garza into spring training. We will see if they can unload him before the season starts.
- Finally, a note from Ken Rosenthal. He is reporting that talks are continuing on whether to expand the playoffs for the 2012 season. The plan is to add a second wild card to each league and make a one game wild card round. That could happen this year or next, depending on the resolution. This could have big implications for the Rays, as the American League is becoming more crowded by the day, with the Rangers and Angels fighting out west and the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox in the east.