Arbitration figures for 2018 are in and the question is whether the Rays management wants to spend a reasonable amount of money and contend or trade quality young players for the future.
I’ve been talking a lot in my last two article about the Rays thirteen arbitration eligible players and their 2018 salaries. I estimated the total figure for the thirteen would come in at about $35 million. Yesterday, more definitive figures came in from Tim Dierkens of MLBtraderumors.com and it looks like I wasn’t far off. His total for the thirteen was $41.4 million.
Dierkens numbers came in at $35 million for the ten I would tender and $6.4 for the three possible non-tenders. Jake Odorizzi leads the four scheduled to make $5 million or more at $6.5 million. Matt Duffy was the lowest at $900 thousand.
This list includes a starting pitcher, a closer, three relief pitchers, a back up catcher, a potential double play combination, a starting outfielder and an outfielder/DH. Here is how the Rays’ salary figures broke down for the ten key players.
Jake Odorizzi – $6.5 million
Corey Dickerson – $6.4
Alex Colome – $5.5
Adeiny Hechavarria – $5.0
Steven Souza Jr. – $3.6
Dan Jennings – $2.5
Brad Boxberger – $1.9
Xavier Cedeno – $1.4
Jesus Sucre – $1.3
Matt Duffy – $.9
The other three arbitration eligible players were Brad Miller at $4.4 million and Shawn Tolleson and Chase Whitley at $1.0 million apiece. I wouldn’t spend $4.4 million on anyone as erratic at the plate and as defensively challenged as Miller.
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It’s a fair price for Tolleson and Whitley but I think there are better and cheaper options in the Ray’s farm system. The big question here is whether the Rays can trade any of three or if they just end up non tendering them.
My guess is they could get something for Miller who, despite his shortcomings, could be a left handed power hitter with versatility for a big market team. Tolleson and Whitley will probably be non-tendered.
The Rays’ also have four players under guaranteed contract for next year including Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier and Wilson Ramos. Their combined salaries are $35 million. In addition, they have $2.0 option for starter/long reliever Nathan Eovaldi. All of this adds up to $71 million for fifteen players.
The other nine players, who would include five pitchers and four position players would be paid at the league minimum of approximately $550,000. There would be little or no room for free agents. This is an extremely reasonable amount for most of the other twenty-nine teams in baseball but perhaps not for the cost conscious Rays.
Once again, the question is whether the Rays’ management wants to spend a reasonable amount of money and contend or whether they want to trade quality young players for prospects and continue to plan for tomorrow.
I like the first choice because it gives the Rays’ a shot at the playoffs. However, the Rays may go for the second choice and save their money for day when the ever elusive stadium is built.