The Rays have an off day on the field, but have been active today off of it. As expected the Rays declined Rocco Baldelli's $6.25 Million Dollar option and instead will pay the $4 Million buyout. The hope is the Rocco will keep the dream of playing alive and resign with the Rays at a reduced cost.
Carl Crawford's option of $8.25 Million Dollar was picked up in what was a no brain move for the Rays. The surprise of the day was the extension of Dan Wheeler. Wheeler, the son-in-law of Play by Play announcer DeWayne Staats, agreed to a 3yr $10.5 Million Dollar deal. The Heater gives us this breakdown of the deal.
"Wheeler will get $2.8-million this season, $3.2-million in 2009, $3.5-million in 2010 and either a $1-million buyout or a $4-million salary in 2011."
With the fragile arms of Al Reyes and Troy Percival at the back end of the bullpen this year the deal is worth it. Scott Linebrink received a four-year, $19 million contract and is basically the same pitcher. The back end of the deal meaning 2010 and the option on 2011 could be the real bargain. With Reyes on a one year contract and Percival not promised to make it through the 2008 season, let alone 2009, Wheeler could very well be the Rays closer for part or, almost all, of the contract. Given the current closer's market where Francisco Cordero received $12 Million a year for four years and Eric Gagne one year $10 Million, a closer making around $3.5-$4 Million a year is an absolute steal.
Quotes from tampabay.com
“I'm very happy,'' Crawford said. "I would like to thank the Rays organization and Stu Sternberg for believing in me. I'm grateful for the opportunity for this day. I'm looking forward to being here for a long time because I think we're at the start of something great going on here. I want to do well for them and represent the team in a classy manner.”
We've worked to try to address our bullpen situation and we feel like Dan will be an important part of our bullpen going forward and getting important outs late in games for us,'' executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "I think he's be the first to say last year was not a typical Dan Wheeler season and all parties agree this year and future years will be much better and he'll be an important part of our bullpen going forward.''