Rays Add One, Shoot for Two More
If the Rays' prior offseason moves seemed a bit surprising -- it didn't seem that many pegged Tampa Bay as a possible destination for Pat Burrell -- the team's newest addition may take the cake.
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Rays reached an agreement with 40-year-old left-handed reliever Brian Shouse. The deal is reportedly in the neighborhood of 1-2 million per season, if you believe the numbers put forth by Ken Rosenthal.
Clearly, Shouse is the replacement for Trever Miller, who the team lost to the Cardinals earlier this offseason. The swap makes sense from a numbers standpoint, with Shouse's numbers against left-handed hitters in 2008 stacking up well against Miller's. Lefties hit just .180 against him with a .192 on-base percentage and a .482 OPS.
His age, on the other hand, has to be significantly worrisome, even for a bullpen specialist. Yet age is no concern for the other two players the Rays are working on deals for, with ongoing negotiations aimed at avoiding arbitration with both catcher Dioner Navarro and infielder Willy Aybar. According to Mark Tompkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the team is exploring multi-year deals for both players in an attempt to eat up some of their remaining years of arbitration eligibility. Navarro -- who is likely to command significantly more than Aybar -- has three remaining arbitration years while Aybar has four.
While it's hard to read too much into what potential parameters for the two might arise, it's safe to say that a deal for both would be beneficial to both sides. For the Rays, there's no reason to raise consternation among some of their younger assets by trying to play cheap with two emerging team leaders. For the players, this is a chance to cash in on a really strong season, both in terms of team and individual results. It's a win-win.
Will it happen? Who knows. It does seem possible, though, and maybe even likely. There's plenty of time left before either goes to a hearing, and the motivation is out there in the open.
February 1, 2009; 2:56 AM ET
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