Catching Up With The Tampa Bay Rays Offseason
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a moderately busy offseason securing help behind the plate and in their bullpen. The winter meetings will be held in Orlando, Florida next week and the Rays will be fielding offers for David Price as well as looking at improving their roster at first base.
First base: Undetermined
Second Base: Ben Zobrist
Shortstop: Yunel Escobar
Third Base: Evan Longoria
Designated Hitter: Undetermined
The Tampa Bay Rays offseason began with the decision to pick up the 2014 option on outfielder David DeJesus. The option was originally worth $6.5M but the Rays and DeJesus came to a contract extension paying him $10.75M over the next two seasons and a team option for the 2016 season.
The Rays solidified their catching tandem by re-signing catcher Jose Molina to a 2-year/$4.5M deal and trading for the Cincinnati Reds backstop Ryan Hanigan and immediately signing him to a 3-year/$10.75M contract which includes a team option for 2017.
The team added two relievers to their bullpen. Juan Carlos Oviedo who rehabbed with the Rays in 2013 and had his 2014 option for $2M bought out for $30K but came to terms on a new contract for 2014 for $1.5M which includes $1.4M in incentives.
They also traded for Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Heath Bell who is looking to rebound from disappointing 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Winter Meetings Outlook:
The Rays will be the center of attention at he winter meetings as they field offers for lefty David Price. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Toronto Blue Jays have interest and the type of high ceiling prospects that the Rays would be interested in.
The Rays may acquire a first baseman as part of a trade for David Price or they could look elsewhere in free agency or trade. Trade candidates include Ike Davis (Mets), Mitch Moreland (Rangers), Justin Smoak (Mariners), and Logan Morrison (Marlins). Free agents included James Loney, Corey Hart, Mark Reynolds, and Kevin Youkilis.