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Tampa Bay Rays: A quiet deadline for once

By Austin Reimann
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Tommy Pham #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits an RBI sacrifice fly in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 21, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Tommy Pham #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits an RBI sacrifice fly in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 21, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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The Tampa Bay Rays are expected to have a quiet deadline for once. The non-tender deadline was at one point expected to be a busy one, but instead they will tender the remaining four arbitration eligible players on the roster.

At one point, it was expected that today would be C.J. Cron’s last day in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform. Instead the slugging right hander was designated for assignment ten days prior in an effort to make room for a batch of Run-5 eligible prospects.

Today the Rays are faced with four decisions, and all are expected to be rather easy decisions to make. Tommy Pham, Matt Duffy, Chaz Roe, and Mike Zunino are all arbitration eligible this offseason and the Rays have the option to non-tender them if they so choose, making them free agents.

Both Tommy Pham and Mike Zunino are no-brainers. Both have been acquired by trades in the past six months and both are expected to play pivotal roles on a team that is looking to contend in 2019.

Recently acquired catcher Mike Zunino is projected to earn the most out of the group this offseason, with mlbtraderumors.com projecting that he will make 4.2 million. Rays outfielder Tommy Pham, who was acquired at the deadline and ended the year as the Rays best right-handed hitter, is in line to make 4 million in 2019.

Earlier this winter there was speculation that the Rays may choose to non-tender reliever Chaz Roe, but I never saw that as a likely outcome. The righty and his disgusting slider should remain in Tampa this season and play a big role. He is projected to make the least of the group, coming in at 1.4 million.

In my opinion Duffy is the toughest decision for the Rays although it is expected that they will non-tender him. The. Rays third baseman may be pushed out by Daniel Robertson and Christian Arroyo come Spring Training if he isn’t traded away before that, which I believe is likely. He is only expected to make 2.6 million and the Rays can swallow that pill.

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The only dilemma the Rays were going to run into today would have been C.J. Cron who is expected to make 5.2 million. It is likely that the Rays would have non-tendered him today had he not been DFA’d on the 20th. Now the question remains, who will the Rays add to fill the hole they created?

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