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Tampa Bay Rays In Payroll 2014 + Contracts Going Forward: They Should Also Trade David Price To St. Louis For Matt Adams

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries held him back in 2013.  He was 9 - 8, with a 3.39 ERA.  Since he is due a payraise - to the $13 - $15 MIL range, it is my feeling the team should trade him for a slugging 1B.  How about Matt Adams of the Cardinals anyone?  The St. Louis team will need an ace to replace Chris Carpenter - and could bridge the gap for his few years of eligibility.

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries held him back in 2013. He was  still 9 – 8, with a 3.39 ERA. Since he is due a payraise – to the $13 – $15 MIL range in Arbitration, it is my feeling the team should trade him for a slugging 1B. How about Matt Adams of the Cardinals anyone? The St. Louis team will need an ace to replace Chris Carpenter – and could bridge the gap for the team before Free Agency eligibility in 2016.  It was too bad Hak-Ju Lee was hurt for some of 2013, as that would have been a perfect package to help bringing back another Starter.  Perhaps the Rays should use Matt Joyce also as bait?  Maybe they could a prospect Starter after all.  The team figures to be around $55 – 57 MIL before Price.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

I am of the belief that the Andrew Friedman and Stu Sternberg have been the ‘model franchise’ in the AL over the last 6 years. 

Not only do they compete in the vaunted AL East versus the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but they have made the playoffs 4 times in that span, including a World Series Loss to the Philadelphia in the 2008 year. 

Had Evan Longoria not been hurt for the majority of the 2012 season, one could argue that the club was poised to make another playoff appearance to make it 6. 

So how are they doing this?  Their team payroll is roughly one-third of the Yankees and the 40 % of the Red Sox total Payroll. 

The Rays are smart enough to let their higher priced Free Agents walk, or even trading them before they are due significant pay raises. 

They are also using the philosophy of the ‘John Hart‘ Indians of the Pre-Milennium Cleveland Indians.  Once it was established that Evan Longoria could play at the MLB Level, they signed him to an 8 year contract. 

They did the same thing with Starting Pitching Matt Moore last year with a 5 year deal for the rookie based on one playoffs of decent pitching. 

It is a risk sometimes to do this, yet the rewards can save you Millions in future payroll if the new player (s) outperforms his/their contract (s).

Rays Highlights 2013:

Tropicana Field has been the only MLB Park for the Rays.  Unfortunately the club has a lease that runs through the year 2027.  There have been several talks of a downtown Tampa Stadium right off of Highway 4. All have plans have been derailed.  With limited revenues generated playing out of Tropicana Field, it will be tough to keep doing this year after year, however the management had the good foresight to see the MLB game switching back to more pitching and defense.  With some of the best players on the club locked up under team control, they could also use one or two of their pitchers to acquire a big bat in the foreseeable future.

Tropicana Field has been the only MLB Park for the Rays. Unfortunately the club has a lease that runs through the year 2027. There have been several talks of a downtown Tampa Stadium right off of Highway 4. All have plans have been derailed. With limited revenues generated playing out of Tropicana Field, it will be tough to keep doing this year after year, however the management had the good foresight to see the MLB game switching back to more pitching and defense. With some of the best players on the club locked up under team control, they could also use one or two of their pitchers to acquire a big bat in the foreseeable future.

The Rays have entire control with their main players with Club Options to be used at their own discretion as the next few years unfold as you will see in this article. 

It is a brilliant move by the brass as they can cut ties with the player at any point and make him a Free Agent if their production falls off.  It is a reason I see this club competing for a playoff spot every year of this decade!

Top Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2014 in Millions Signed Players:

Evan Longoria 3B:  (7.5) Past This year, Longoria is signed through the 2023 Year at 10 More Years and 117.5 Million More Dollars.  Extension was signed in November to extend the contract from 2016 to potentially 2023.

The contract ends in 2022, but there is a 13 Million Dollar Team Option in 2023 or a 5 Million Dollar Buyout.)  It breaks down like this in years succession after 2014 in MIL /11.0/11.5/13.0/13.5/14.5/15.0/18.5/19.0/ and then his option.

With that escalating salary base, it will make it tougher for the club to surround #3 if they are not able to generate some more revenue.

Matt Moore SP:  (1.0) Matt Moore had a wicked second year at 17 – 4, and would have had a chance for 20 wins – had he not missed some starts.

He has 3 years left on his contract with 9.0 MIL owed to him. He makes $3 MIL in 2014 and then $5 MIL in 2015.

There is also Club Options for 2017 (7.0 MIL), 2018 (8.0 MIL) and 2019 (10.0 MIL.)

Joel Peralta RP:  3.0 (Peralta also signed for 3.0 Million in 2014 – before hitting Free Agency in 2015.)

Total of 3 players and $11.5 MIL

Team Options (What they made in 2013 Salary in Parenthesis)

Ben Zobrist 2B/RF/SS:  (5.6) After this 2013 year, the team has a 7.0 MIL Club Option for 2014 and a 7.5 MIL Club Option for 2015 – before Free Agency is granted in 2016.

David DeJesus (4.25)  The OF has a Team Option for $6.5 MIL in 2014, or a Buyout for $1.5 MIL.  I think the team should sign him.

Yunel Escobar  OF:  (5.0) Escobar has 2 Team Options in consecutive years for 5 MIL in 2014 and 2015.  He was good enough to warrant the team picking these up.

They should grab all of these guys.  DeJesus will be based on whether the club bring back Matt Joyce – or trades him.

Add $19 MIL to the totals.  If they decline DeJesus, and pay him out, they will have to use that cash to pay for Joyce’s Arbitration Award with the difference. 

With this category, you now are at $30.5 MIL for 6 players.

Arbitration Eligible in 2014

Jeremy Hellickson SP:  (491 K)  At a career Record of 27-21 so far with a 3.06 ERA.  Hellickson is up for Arbitration 2014 – 2016 and is a Free Agent in 2017.

The 4 Year Veteran picked a bad year to have his worst year, as he was 12 – 10, with a 5.17 ERA.  However, he will probably Triple to Quadruple to what his 2013 salary was – based on his 39 – 31 (.556) with a 3.70 Lifetime ERA. 

The guy should be the 3rd or 4th Starter to begin 2014. 

Sam Fuld  OF:  (489 K)  He is one of the most popular players on the club.  Fuld could be retained as a super utility OF.  He has SB 37 and 103 Runs in 713 Career AB.  He is eligible for Arbitration in 2014 – 2016, and will be a Free Agent in 2017. 

Joe Maddon loves the guy – so look for him to stay.

Cesar Ramos RP:  (480 K)  The man featured a 2.10 ERA in 3o Innings Pitched for the Rays in 2o12 – but crept up to a 4.14 ERA in 2013 .  He is eligible for Arbitration in 2014 – 2016 and will be a Free Agent in 2017.

Sean Rodriguez 2B/3B/SS/DH:  (1.0)  Rodriguez has failed at the MLB level with a career .228 AVG in 1400 AB… but he does play 3 positions and will likely be kept going forward.  He doubles his salary of last season in Arbitration.

Rodriguez hits pretty well vs LHP – as his .777 OPS, 5 HRs and 20 RBI showed you in just 167 AB.  I think you let him and Scott platoon at DH,  Rodriguez will not make much more than his 2013 either.

The only way the team cuts ties, is possibly to trade him.  Delmon Young could be retained as an OF/DH.  This has got to effect either Rodriguez or Fuld. 

Jeff Niemann SP:  (3.0)  Niemann still has 2 years left of eligibility for Arbitration.  Only starting 8 games due to shoulder stiffness in 2012  kept his contract raise pretty low (200K) for this year.  He is eligible to be a Free Agent in 2015.

You may see the Rays walk clean right away from him, as he has been injury prone, and they can’t spend a few $MIL for no IP. Don’t tender him

Matt Joyce RF:  (2.45)  Joyce more than quadrupled his pay in 2013 with being Arbitration Eligible.  His career OPS is .810 – and is perfect for the ball club’s philosophy.  He is Arbitration Eligible for 2014 – 2015,  then he is eligible for Free Agency in 2016.

I think the club should try and trade Matt Joyce – and pick up the contract Option on David DeJesus.

4 Players will be retained at about a $6.5 MIL clip.

This brings the Payroll to $37 MIL for 10 players.

Expiring Contracts.

Juan Carlos Oviedo (490 K):  The guy never recovered from Tommy John Surgery, and time to cut bait.

Jose Molina C:  (1.8) – I have to think that the Rays and Molina can work out a deal for 1 – 2 years, in the $2 MIL a year range.  Lobaton and he could split time.  Molina is still an above average Catcher.

James Loney 1B:  (2.0) Loney signed a 1 YR Deal and made it possibly to spend money elsewhere.  The team may resign him if the money is right, however, I think they need to trade for a Slugging 1B in 2014.

I like James Loney, but how many times can you receive a great year from a budget deal?  It is time to trade for a Slugger at the position.  Like when you won with Pena.

I like James Loney, but how many times can you receive a great year from a budget deal? It is time to trade for a Slugger at the position. Like when you won with Pena.

Kelly Johnson 2B/LF: (2.45) was a definite offensive upgrade over Reid Brignac.  I think you let Kelly Johnson walk here.  You can use Zobrist at 2B.

Fernando Rodney RP:  (2.5) Rodney is on the last year of his 2 YR/5 Million Dollar Contract.  What a bargain for a guy who Saved 48 Games last year while sporting a 0.60 ERA.  Let him walk, he was bad in 2013.

Luke Scott 1B/DH:  (2.75)  As a Super 2 Free Agent last year, Scott signed with the Rays.  He drove in 55 RBI in just 314 AB in 2012 – and 41 RBI in 251 AB in 2013. His .741 OPS in 2013 was well below his Career OPS of .821.

I think the team should bring him back, as he does well in Maddon’s platoons – and is cheap.

Ryan Roberts 2B/LF/3B:  (2.9)  Roberts is another ‘Super 2’ Free Agent.  His is versatile to play 3 positions, however his poor 2013 should not see him receive much of a pay raise.  He is  Arbitration Eligible in 2014 – 2015 then he gets  to be a Free Agent in 2016.

Roberto Hernandez SP:  3.25 (AKA Fausto Carmona) signed a 1 Yr Deal with Tampa.  He was 19-8, with a 3.06 ERA in the 2007 ALCS run for the Indians.  You take out that year – and they guy has been abysmal! 

How bad you ask? …. 40 – 75 and an ERA over 5 the rest of his career…take his 6 – 14 out and over 5 ERA – and you win the Division.

They will need about 3 of these players, and then also add about 2 more players in Free Agency.  Budget for 5 FA’s  – $13 – $15 MIL.  Among the players will be a new Closer (Maybe Jose Veras?).

I would draw a Starting Pitcher from your own organization – and plan on another returning in a David Price trade. 

These 15 players will only cost the club  Apporximately 50.0 – $52 Million Dollars in Payroll.

Matt Moore had a solid second half of the 2012 Year with a 6-5 Record, plus a 3.01 ERA – before solidifying his standing as a #1 in the AL – with a 17 -4, 3.29 ERA year. Moore is in the 3nd year of a 5 YR/14.0 Million Dollar Contract.

Pre-Arbitration Eligible and Major League Minimum Contracts:

Desmond Jennings CF:  (487 K)  Jennings will too over full CF duties with the departure of Upton.  Unfortunately he dealt with some injuries. 

This guy needs to step up in 2014.  He is Arbitration Eligible in 2015 and only will be granted Free Agency in 2018.

Jake McGee RP:  (484 K)  This Relief Pitcher has gone 15-7 with a 3.28 ERA in 151 IP with the club so far and will be a mainstay for years to come in the bullpen.  He is Arbitration Eligible in 2015 – 2017 and a Free Agent in 2018.

Jose Lobaton C:  (482 K)  This guy is the proto-typical backup Catcher in the Majors.  He is not eligible for Arbitration until 2015 and wont be a Free Agent until 2018.  If the Rays do not sign Molina to a long-term deal after 2013, he may see more AB.

Josh Lueke RP:  (480 K)  After a decent season with the Mariners in 2012, he was traded to the Rays for C/DH John Jaso.  He was ineffective and sent to the minors were he sported a 5.59 ERA for the year. 

He got his chance to make the club in 2013 – and sported a 5.06 ERA in 21 IP.  Lueke is Arbitration Eligible in 2016 – 2018 and a Free Agent in 2019.

Alex Torres RP:  (480 K) After a small stint in 2011 with the Rays, this guy held a 7.30 ERA for the Durham Bulls.  He rebounded with a superb 2013 campaign for the Rays, yielding a 1.71 ERA spanning 58 IP for the big club.

He will be counted on hugely in 2014.  Maybe even vy for the Closers Job.  Torres is Arbitration Eligible in 2016 – 2018 and a Free Agent in 2019.

Steve Geltz RP:  Geltz was acquired earlier in the year for Dane De La Rosa, and will probably fight for a Bullpen spot to start the 2014 year.  He was was 5 – 3, with a 2.82 ERA in 67 IP for Durham.

  Geltz is Arbitration Eligible in 2016 – 2018 and a Free Agent in 2019.

Alex Cobb SP:  (414 K)  Alex Cobb went 11-9 and a 4.03 ERA with TB in 23 starts.  His strong 2nd year campaign may help the management trade a veteran starter (or even him) for another bat. 

Arbitration Eligible in 2016 – 2018 and a Free Agent in 2019.

Cobb was 11 – 3, with a 2.76 ERA.  If Price is moved, he could slot right behind Moore as the #2 Pitcher.

Chris Archer SP:  (414 K)  Archer received 4 starts for the club and went 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA. 

Depending if the team trades a veteran or not, he may make the club out of spring training.  Arbitration Eligible 2016 – 2018 and a Free Agent in 2019. Ranked #45 of prospects by Baseball America in 2013.

Archer went 9 – 7, with a 3.22 ERA.  Pencil him into the 2014 rotation.

Brandon Gomes RP:  (414 K)  Gomes had a great 2011 year with a 2.92 ERA in 40 Games.  In 2012, the guy struggled to start the year and was sent to the Minors before being called up in Sept – and same thing happened in 2013.  

This man had a 6.52 ERA in 19.2 IP, he might be given a shot to make the 2014 Bullpen.  Gomes is Arbitration Eligible in 2015 – 2017 and a Free Agent in 2018.

Jake Odorizzi  RP  (480 K)  Odorizzi came over with Myers in the Royals trade.  He is Arbitration Eligible in 2016 – 2018 and a Free Agent in 2019.

Ranked #45 of prospects by Baseball America in 2013. Odorizzi should be able to compete for the 5th Starting Spot in the rotation for the 2014 year.

A full year of Wil Myers and Chris Archer, and some saavy FA acquisitions, improved Starting Pitching depth from the Minors, could see the club actually be better in 2014.  Myers will be 23 to start next year, and it is not unheard of to project .290/.360/850 - next year with 25 HRs and 100 RBI, which would come at the entry level price.

A full year of Wil Myers and Chris Archer, and some saavy FA acquisitions, improved Starting Pitching depth from the Minors, could see the club actually be better in 2014. Myers will be 23 to start next year, and it is not unheard of to project .290/.360/850 – next year with 25 HRs and 100 RBI, which would come at the entry level price.  Whether the Rays fans like it or not – this was a great trade for the organization.  They should do the same thing this season with Price, but only if they can get another player like a Wil Myers in return.  Their Pitching is strong, and with Alex Cobb and Matt Moore throwing great, it could prolong the teams playoff run.

Wil Myers RF:  Myers has himself a great rookie campaign once he was called up, with a .293/.353/.831 – with 13 HRs and 53 RBI in 335 AB (88 GP).  He is Arbitration Eligible from 2016 – 2018 and a Free Agent in 2019.

Mike Montgomery SP:  He came over with Wil Myers in the big player deal.  In 2012, he was ranked #31 of baseball prospects by Baseball America before a sub-par campaign.  The clock has not started on this prospect.  Had another bay year in Durham.  Once a top prospect, he is fading fast.

Tim Beckham SS:  His Arbitration Status and is yet to be decided.  He was ranked #92 for prospects out of the 2012 year.  He only had a .686 OPS for Durham – which hindered his stock that year

2013 saw his numbers rise a little, with a .729 OPS – while scoring 71 Runs in 122 Games Played in Durham. 

Wilking Rodriguez RP:  The clock has not started on this prospect. He has served 7 years in the Minors so far.  He is not expected to break camp with the club again in 2014.

Hak-Ju Lee SS  The clock has not started on this elite prospect.  He is ranked #56 by Baseball America in 2013.  He was supposed to see some time with the big club this season, but he tore ligaments in his left knee.  

22 Players (Only 8 will smooth out the roster – and make around 4.0 Million in 2014 to make the Payroll 54.0 – $56.0 Million after this category. These guys should all make the 40 – Man Roster.  Some of them will still make the big $$ at the Major League Level though.

This brings the total team Payroll projected to be 54 – 56.0 Million – without the conclusion of the David Price scenario.  The Team Budget is likely $60 – $65.

Going Forward: 

With Wil Myers, Chris Archer,  Hak-Ju Lee and Jake Odorizzi all ranked in the top 50 for prospects this year, and Myers and Archer doing great in their time with the big club, this should offset some guys leaving.

The team can’t do this forever, so the brass must hope that the new 2016 CBA can correct some of the flaws with lower payroll teams.

The many Rays Logo's over the years.  Is the best of this franchise yet to come?

The many Rays Logo’s over the years. Is the best of this franchise yet to come?  The team has played to a record of 552 – 421 (.566) in the last 6 years – including 90+ Wins in 5 of the last 6 seasons, (2nd to only the New York Yankees in that time frame for wins – and only trailing by 13 victories total).  ,  Despite 4 playoff appearances the Rays have failed to reach even the ALCS – since going all the way to the 2008 World Series, before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Their awesome stretch of baseball hasn’t helped at the turnstiles – where they finished 15th in the AL again, with 1.5 Million Fans (18,900 per game.)

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***

***Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here .

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

Posted on October 14, 2013, in MLB Historical Series, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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