Almost two weeks after an exhilarating World Series won by the Boston Red Sox, Major League Baseball‘s offseason is already in full force with free agent talk in high gear. The Tampa Bay Rays have been a model of consistency in the past three years and are looking to put together the final pieces to their Championship puzzle. With an assortment of talent available as free agents, the Rays will have a opportunity to add key players and fill any gaps they feel may exist in their roster.
The following five players are free agents that the Tampa Bay Rays should seriously consider signing this offseason.
1B Mike Napoli – Of course signing Mike Napoli will be on top of the list for most teams in need of a first basemen. However, the Rays would attract more big name free-agents with the addition of a player such as Napoli who is a World Series champion and one of the best at his position. If Tampa Bay acquires Napoli and makes another move or two the Rays will have one of the most complete infields in professional baseball.
RP Joaquin Benoit – Benoit made a name for himself with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 finishing the season with a 1.34 ERA and 0.68 WHIP. As one of the best relief pitchers in Major League Baseball that year, Benoit earned quite a payday the following offseason signing with the Detroit Tigers for three years worth 16.5 million dollars. Now a free agent once again, maybe Joaquin Benoit will decide to return to Tampa Bay and give the Rays some much needed relief assistance.
OF Carlos Beltran – Beltran has been extremely consistent throughout his entire career, 15 years to date, and still seems to have some quality baseball left in the tank. In his last two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals Beltran has a combined average of 28 home runs, 28 doubles, two triples, 155.5 hits, 90.5 RBIs, 51.5 walks, 7.5 stolen bases, along with a .283 batting average. In need of some outfield and DH help, Beltran would be a great fit for Tampa Bay.
C Brian McCann – The Tampa Bay Rays can definitely use an upgrade at the catcher position and Brian McCann would be the best case scenario. During his nine year career McCann has hit over 20 home runs in a season seven times and scored over 60 runs in a season on four separate occasions. As a seven-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, McCann would bring veteran leadership, prime talent at catcher and a powerful bat.
SP Ubaldo Jimenez – After a successful season last year with the Cleveland Indians, Ubaldo Jimenez has chosen to test out free agency. Jimenez threw 194 strikeouts in 182.2 innings pitched with a 3.30 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. Inserted into the current roster Jimenez would add dangerous depth and consistency to Tampa Bays starting rotation. There will be a bevy of teams going after Jimenez so the Rays must give the ace what he wants. If Tampa Bay goes all-in for any Starting Pitcher this offseason it should absolutely be Ubaldo Jimenez.