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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.

By Cameron Smith  |  February 1, 2009; 2:56 AM ET
Categories:  Rays  
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Shouse is a nice fit for them. The age really has nothing to do with LOOGYs. Shouse does his role well.

The Aybar extension would be very interesting. He played 95 games, doubled his career at bats, had his lowest OBP, and his SLG was around his average. With all that, I thought he had a terrific year as a multiposition back up. Poking around a bit more, I remember why. He absolutely killed in August and early September when Longoria went down. He's also one of those guys who seems to have his doubles turn into homers as he ages. First 329 at bats - 26 doubles, 5 HRS at ages 22 - 24; Next 324 at bats - 17 doubles, 2 triples, and 10 HRs at age 25. A terrific depth player, locking him up long term now avoids having him fill in for a half a year, explode, and get expensive.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 1, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Cameron, you rock.

I don't know that anyone has officially recognized you yet, but you rock.

I know much of NJ comes over to check out the posts, and you seem to have the most, along with awesome speculation.

So thank you.


Posted by: NattyDelite | February 1, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Cam, you know you're not supposed to have a separate user account like that for posting comments on your own articles.

Posted by: adampschroeder | February 2, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

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