The non-tender deadline passed Friday night without much fanfare on the part of the Tampa Bay Rays — the team tendered contracts to all of their 11 arbitration-eligible players. Unexpectedly, however, the Arizona Diamondbacks chose not to tender the contract of catcher Welington Castillo, putting the Rays in a position to acquire the backstop and fill one of their main offseason needs.
Per Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), the Rays have definite interest and are expected to aggressively pursue Castillo, who slashed .264 BA/.322 OBP/.423 SLG/.745 OPS/.319 wOBA with 14 homers and 68 RBI in 113 games last season. Castillo, considered a passable defender (7.4 zBall%/-24 oStr%/-0.23 PerGame calls/-3.2 RAA in 2016), is an above average hitting catcher who was projected to make $5.9-million entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.
The Rays created room on the 40-man roster — should they pick up Castillo, or acquire another player — by non-tendering former top prospect INF Ryan Brett, who missed 2016 due to injury.
All told, the 11 arbitration eligibles are projected to make around $35-million. Topkin also wrote that includes three who qualified under the Super 2 provision based on service time: Gold Glove winning centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, reliever Danny Farquhar and infielder Tim Beckham.
Kiermaier, whose two years and 131 days service was believed to be right at the cutoff, will make an additional $2 million, with a projected salary of $2.5 million to $3 million rather than the $540,000 or so he was in line for.
Also, Kiermaier, Faquahar and Beckham get to be eligible for arbitration four times rather than the standard three.
The full list, including projected salaries (Credit: Tim Dierkes/MLB Trade Rumors):
Alex Cobb – $4.0MM
Drew Smyly – $6.9MM
Erasmo Ramirez – $3.5MM
Brad Boxberger – $1.5MM
Corey Dickerson – $3.4MM
Brad Miller – $3.8MM
Xavier Cedeno – $1.2MM
Jake Odorizzi – $4.6MM
Danny Farquhar – $1.1MM
Kevin Kiermaier – $2.1MM
Beckham – $1.15MM
— Former Rays infielder Cole Figueroa will join the Rays front office as a baseball development assistant. His assorted duties and responsibilities will include bridging the analytical/onfield information gap, among others.
Figueroa told the Tampa Bay Times he is excited by the prospect of his new job:
It’s something I’ve always been interested in and I got the opportunity to do that so I jumped at it. I think I’ll end up touching a lot of different areas initially.
— The Rays front office isn’t too happy with the collective bargaining agreement struck by the MLBPA and Major League Baseball this week.
Disappointed in what we’ve seen so far, Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman said in a press conference. I’m not optimistic about the CBA in terms of helping us as a lower-revenue club.
Lower revenue clubs face a lot of obstacles, especially when it comes to talent acquisition. We can’t go out and spend like other clubs, so we need to find other avenues to be able to acquire that talent. We’ve looked for additional access on the amateur side, on the international side, and there haven’t been any major changes in the last 10 years. And, in fact, the revenue disparity between clubs has grown by an immense amount.
Then again, they could spend more money, and/or do a better job with the picks they have had.
At the same time, as Topkin wrote Thursday, the Rays are looking at spending around $70 million, so even if they were to “go for it,” they might push $90 million or $100 million for a year, still around half their top foes. That’s not going to solve the problem.