There was no deadline drama for the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, as they tendered contracts to all four of their arbitration-eligible players: catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Tommy Pham, infielder Matt Duffy and right-hander Chaz Roe were offered contracts.
Of the group, Pham is set for the biggest raise, projected to earn $4-million in 2019 by MLB Trade Rumors. Acquired from the Cardinals at last year’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, Pham hit .343 BA/.448 OBP/.622 SLG/1.070 OPS with seven home runs across 39 games for Tampa Bay. The outfielder previously rejected a two-year, $4-million extension offer from St. Louis after his breakout 2017 season.
Zunino and Duffy are both arbitration-eligible for the second time. Zunino will take over as the club’s primary backstop after being acquired from Seattle on November 8. He is slated to earn $4.2-million next season while he (20 homers) and Pham (21 homers) are expected to supply the bulk of the power on the current Rays’ roster.
Roe, 32, is a journeyman whose projected salary sits in the $1.4-million range. The right-hander proved a reliable back-end reliever last season, posting a 3.58 ERA/4.04 FIP across 61 appearances.
According to Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), the Rays are “considering high-end upgrades” to the current roster of youngsters, listing Noah Syndergaard, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nelson Cruz, among others, as potential options. With a new TV contract on the horizon, it would appear that the team’s monetary resources far outshine those of past seasons, so multiple major upgrades should not be ruled out.
As we draw closer to the start of the 2019 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, X-Rays Spex will post our Winter Meetings primer, breaking down who or what the team may be seeking this offseason. Be on the lookout for that by the weekend.