It’s been mentioned on a few occasions now, that the Rays will be raising their payroll from $42 MM, to somewhere in the range of $50-$55 MM, at least for the next couple of seasons. Interestingly enough, in a tweet from DRaysbay Andrew Friedman has suggested that the Rays “do not work on a hard and fast payroll number. Flexibility to spend future dollars on today’s’ payroll”. I like the cut of his jib! Also worth mentioning, the Rays are in talks with Kotchman regarding his future at 1B with the Rays. Friedman noted that there is “little chance of Zobrist (moving) to 1B.”
Opinionated and objective ex-Ray (of sorts), Dirk Hayhurst just posted a blog offering his thoughts on the Albert Pujols and Matt Moore signings, among other things. Check it out here: Puljols, Moore, and Fickle Fans.
We here at Raysbaseball.co speculated a bit back, that there could be the potential of a trade involving John Jaso, Jeff Niemann, and Reid Brignac in order to make room for Matt Moore, and to supplement the roster.
Whether Tampa Bay attempts to re-sign Shoppach on the cheap or whether they look for a catcher on the market, fails to be seen at the moment. In any case, it’s probable that the Rays would send catchers Jose Lobaton and Robinson Chirinos back to AAA Durham to mature in a not so expedited fashion.
It’s fair to assume that Niemann and Brignac would be included in some type of package deal since neither seem to hold too much trade equity on their own. More on this as it becomes available.
In another case of Manny being Manny, Ramirez, 39, is filing papers to be reinstated. Currently in Florida working out (read: fatties getting back into shape), Manny would take a fifty game suspension for his use of steroids. According to Olney, “He and his agents have told teams that he is ready to begin discussions. Ramirez’s suspension clock wouldn’t begin until he signs a contract.” Fox Sports analyst, Jon Morosi, clarified things a bit by saying, “The Players’ Union will argue that Ramirez effectively served his 100-game suspension last season. MLB will need to apply some form of punishment though, and Morosi says a 50-game suspension is a likely compromise. The 50-game violation isn’t official, but both sides “seem amenable to it,” says Morosi.”
It’s been speculated that an unspecified AL team will give Manny a non-roster invite to Spring Training to see if he can still hit. ESPN baseball analyst, Buster Olney, tweeted that the Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, Tigers, White Sox, Indians, Rangers, Angels, and A’s are not interested in what he’s got to offer. Olney also noted in another round of tweets that it’s unlikely the Mariners or Rays would be interested either.