Good news – the Rays gained two more top draft picks today.
Bad news – the Yankees just signed Rafael Soriano according to Jon Heyman who is always first to break the Scott Boras-related signings. He is reporting it is a 3-year deal for $35m – which is why he never had a chance of coming back here. That’s an AAV of nearly $12m a season for a setup man and couple this with Rivera’s AAV of $15m a season, the Yankees are paying the back-end of their bullpen nearly $27m a season for the next two years. The entire Rays pitching staff, starters plus relievers, made less than what Soriano and Rivera will combine to make in 2011.
The Rays now have nine draft picks before the second round of the 2011 draft starts; “sandwich picks” come in between the first and second round:
- Their own (32st overall)
- Boston’s (24th overall)
- New York’s (31st overall)
- Sandwich pick for Chad Qualls
- Sandwich pick for Brad Hawpe
- Sandwich pick for Joaquin Benoit
- Sandwich pick for Randy Choate
- Sandwich pick from MLB for losing Carl Crawford
- Sandwich pick from MLB for losing Rafael Soriano
According to Baseball America’s Jim Callis, the Rays now own pick numbers 24, 31, 32, 38, 41, 51, 55, 58, and 59.
Grant Balfour is still unsigned as well. If he goes to a team like Minnesota, that will be two more first round picks for the Rays. If Balfour goes to a team whose pick is protected, the Rays would get a sandwich pick and likely a second round pick from the team that signs Balfour.
It has not been a fun off-season watching fan favorites head to the hated rivals within the division but that plethora of draft picks will help ease the pain as the Rays re-tool the roster in what will be a very deep 2011 draft pool. The added bonus is the Rays take away the top draft pick from their competitors.