Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
Most Recent Entries
- Panini previews Gold Standard basketball
- Golf: All-Western Conference Teams
- Baseball: Jesuit OF Taylor selects Duke
- Land O’ Lakes defensive standout Shaheed Salmon picks up first offer
- Football: All-Western Conference Teams
- Rays non-tender Fuld
- Chargers WR Allen top rookie in Week 12 voting
- Collect call: 2014 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team and Hopefuls
- Panini’s Totally Certified hockey to debut in February
- Leaf releases some corny inserts
- Volleyball: Berkeley Prep’s Brown a finalist for Miss Volleyball
- Rays 2014 spring training schedule
- Proposal would ease FHSAA penalty for violating “follow the coach” law
- Maddon’s Thanksmas returns for 8th year
- Maddux, Glavine, Thomas highlight newcomers on Hall of Fame ballot
Seeking relief help among non-tenders
Posted Dec 15, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Dec 16, 2008 at 12:13 AM
The Rays have made it clear that their top priority this winter is shoring up their offense, and every indication is the bulk of the money they have to spend will go toward luring a big bat like Jason Giambi or Milton Bradley to Tampa Bay. The Rays also would like to shore up the bullpen, though, and some of the players who were non-tendered Friday could make for a nice fit at a reasonable cost.
In addition to the Rays’ previously reported interest in the non-tendered Joe Nelson and Scott Proctor—with Nelson apparently quite a bit more intriguing than Proctor—former Oriole Lance Cormier is believed to be on the Rays’ radar. The Orioles’ decision to ax Daniel Cabrera has received most of the attention, but some were surprised when Baltimore cut Cormier. Hefty right-hander Chris Britton, late of the Yankees, is another name that has been circulating.
Two former Dodgers teammates of Proctor are worth keeping an eye on, as well. Yhency Brazoban is only 28 but has had a boatload of injury troubles the last few years. If he demonstrates he is healthy, he could be of interest to the Rays. And then there’s the curious case of Takashi Saito, an All-Star closer in 2007 who recently declined an incentive-laden one-year offer from the Dodgers. It seems L.A. and other teams aren’t sure what to make of an elbow problem that slowed Saito last season, an issue that could affect his market. If he proves healthy, though, he certainly would be a nice piece to slot into the Rays’ bullpen and help serve as insurance until Troy Percival demonstrates he’s completely ready to go.
Of course, the Rays did find a reliever they liked quite a bit in the Rule 5 draft last week, Derek Rodriguez, and he’ll have a chance to make the club. But they also have said they would value bullpen guys who have options remaining, giving them some flexibility beyond what they have right now—Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel, for instance, can’t be sent to the minors without clearing waivers. The aforementioned free agents wouldn’t be in that category, but you can never have too much bullpen help—and, as Grant Balfour proved last spring, there’s no guarantee anyone will get claimed off waivers.