Rays Hot Stove Pot Beginning to Simmer


When the World series ended with the upstart  Tampa Bay Rays losing to the Philadelphia Phillies, it was the first bit of heat to the offseason’s Hot Stove predicitions and rumors. The Rays quickly made announcements on declining options and granting free agency to 4 of this years Rays’ players that helped the team land in the Fall classic.

First to hit the free agent market was Tampa Bay Rays’ mainstay Rocco Baldelli, who had his 2009 option actually turned down in the early atages of 2008 after he was diagnoised with fatigue syndrome. Baldelli still might sign back with the only club he has ever played for maybe more out of loyalty for all the years and times they took to secure his health and might even give a nice “hometown” discount to the Rays.



Baldelli has had a series of injuuries from Tommy Johns’ surgery, knee surgery, and his latest set back that the Rays stood behind him and kept him on their roster. Some other teams might have cut loose years ago, but the Rays felt they needed to get Baldelli and themselves on steady ground before committing to a future deal. Both sides will probable settle on an incentive laced agreement with playing time and offensive statistics playing heavy on the deal.



Eric Hinske came to the Rays and provided ample protction on the offensive side for the club while they searched for a right-handed bat for rightfield. With the renewed health of Baldelli, it gave Hinske less time in the field, and he was primarily a bench player after the trading deadline. Hinske will probably noy be with the club in 2009, and will seek more playing time either in the outfield or at third base on another squad.




One of the fee agent signees’ of 2008 that will not be back with the club might be Cliff Floyd. It was discovered during the World Series during Game 3 that Floyd had injured his shoulder in that contest while batting. He tried and rehab the shoulder before Game 4, but the Rays decided to de-activate Floyd and put Hinske on the 25-man World Series roster.

This injury was first thought to be career ending for Floyd, but recent reports have come out that if he opts for surgery, he might be ready in time for 2009 Spring Training. By refusing his $ 2.75 million dollar 2009 club option, it frees up money for the club to pursue another DH candidate for the Rays in 2009. Floyd has not stated if he intends to pursue the Rays as a free agent again in 2009, but he will have the surgery to repair his Labium tear in the coming weeks.



A club option that was turned down for Rays reliever Trever Miller might have more than a few heads turing or scratching this week. The team had a 2009 club option that would have paid him $ 2 million in salary for the season. The move might be a financial one, or it might be a sign that the Rays might want to look elsewhere for their lefty specialist. There have been rumors that the Rays still like miller and might resign him to a reduced contract before Spring Training.

Another rumor flying across the Internet is that the Rays are going to make a run at Atlanta Braves’ left-handed reliever Will Ohman, who the Rays tried to trade for duting the trade deadline in August of 2008. Because of the Rays intense involvement in trying to get Ohman earlier in the season, this might be a precursor to signing him.




Then there is the rumor starting to gain steam that the Rays might part with leftfielder, and 2-time All Star, Carl Crawford in a trade with the Colorado Rockies for Matt Holliday. Crawford is about to hit the high dollar marks for the Rays, and by trading him and maybe a  major league ready pitching prospect, the team might be able to free enough salary space to afford the power bat of Holliday in rightfield for the Rays.

Alot of this depends on what the Rockies will ask for in return for Holliday. I think that a package with Crawford and maybe even a Edwin Jackson or Andy Sonnanstine might be attractive to the Rockies. They would get a replacement for Holliday, and get an upgrade in their starting rotation immediately.

I will keep my ear to the ground and see what happens with this rumor. Do not forget that the Rays saved up to 2.5 million by refusing their two club options for 2009, and relieving themselves of Crawford’s 2009 salary of $ 8.25 million dollars would free up about $ 10.75 million. Hollidays 2009 salary is set at about $ 13.5 million dollars.




Hey man,

Matt Holliday? Really? Nah, better served off keeping Crawford, methinks.

Tried to find an e-mail address for you and struck out. Could you drop me a line at evanATmvn.com? I have a question I’d like to ask you. Thanks!


I agree with you, but sometimes they do things here that are more fiscial, and not about the physical anymore.

Crawford is about to hit his first huge pay day in 2009, and the Rays might unload him primarily to give space to Fernando Perez in center, and get some salary room for additions to the team.

It is all speculation until they hit the podium with the trade news.

I think if not now, then maybe at the trade deadline in 2009, Crawford might not be a Tampa Bay Ray anymore…………I would like to keep him too, but then I liked seeing Jose Canseco hit in the Trop too.

Rays Renegade


Unless the Rays can sign Holliday to a long term deal I don`t like giving up CC and Jackson. I`d rather see them use Jackson as part of a deal for a legit closer and sign a lesser player to play right. One name I find interesting is Nelson Cruz. He`s a minor league free agent from the Rangers organization who hit lights out in AAA last year and looked good in limited time with Rangers. He is a natural rightfielder with a cannon. His path is bocked in Texas by the one that got away but I think he has a shot here with the always fiscally prudent Rays.

I would love to see a long term deal with a big bat like Holliday for the Rays, but it will not happen unless Crawford is down the road. When they made those 2 deals with Baldelli and Crawford a few years ago, there was an underlying reality that one of them might not be in the picture past 2009.
Now, depending on what Rocco decides, neither might be in the outfield after 2009. I love CC as a player and a person, he is a guy you want by your side in a fight, or in a jam. That being said, the fiscial matter might block him from being a lifetime Rays.

We shall see……………….Do not surprised by a B J Upton long term deal coming out just after Spring Training. I think alot of that will have to do with his shoulder injury decision next week

Rays Renegade


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