On Wednesday, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors looked at the Rays players eligible for arbitration this offseason. The first-time eligible players are Matthew Joyce, Sean Rodriguez, and Sam Fuld, David Price, Jeff Niemann, and Ryan Roberts are going through arbitration for the second time, and Ben Francisco and Burke Badenhop are eligible for the third time. Price is the player who will make the most money out of anyone- MLBTR estimates him at 9.5 million dollars- but the interesting cases will be Rodriguez, Roberts, and Francisco, all of whom may be non-tendered by the Rays. At this point, Roberts looks like the Rays’ best option at second base, so he will likely be retained, but Rodriguez and Francisco may not have a large role with the team for next season and the Rays may be best off cutting them to save 3 million dollars they can use on free agents while replacing them with cheaper options (like say Reid Brignac and Brandon Guyer- although it’s hard to like Brignac so much so Rodriguez will likely be tendered a contract). MLBTR also notes that Sam Fuld is a strange case as Fuld has played so few games because of injuries and he will likely make not much above MLB’s minimum salary, which certainly helps out the Rays. The Rays will have an interesting task ahead of them with all these arbitration cases and hopefully they can get the money worked out to retain most of their key players with some money left over for improvements through free agency.
Jack Dickey Sports on Earth interviewed Gary Sheffield, which normally wouldn’t have much to do with the Rays, but Sheffield, a Tampa native, brought them up and not in a good context. Sheffield wanted to end his career in Tampa Bay in 2010 like fellow Tampa natives Tino Martinez and Fred McGriff, but the Rays disrespected him and turned him down. The difference between Sheffield and Martinez/McGriff is that when Martinez and McGriff were on the team, the Rays were a last-place and had nothing to lose bringing in local guys for goodwill with the fans. Now, the Rays are a contender trying to make the postseason and hopefully beyond every season and they don’t have the time to be sentimental. It would have been nice for Sheffield to finish his career with his hometown team, but the Rays could not have cared less about that as they do everything they can to consistently win games.
And finally, Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times talked about The Baseball Stadium Financing Caucus, whose results will be made public soon, and how existing taxes could be shifted to fund the new stadium rather than levying more taxes on Tampa Bay residents. It’s great to know that a new stadium could for the Rays could be accomplished without much additional strain on the community, and hopefully the official announcement of the Caucus’ results sparks even more discussions regarding that potential new stadium.