Rays Waive Potential 25th Man Candidates

With Kyle Farnsworth officially re-signing for one year at a guaranteed amount of $1.3M, which can double due to un-named incentives and Kelly Johnson, also, officially joining the Rays for $2.45M the Rays 40-man roster was hurtin for certain.  Add in that Luke Scott has unofficially signed and the Rays needed to clear three spots, and quick.

Word has come down that Elliot Johnson and Reid Brignac will be the first two of these three casualties. Elliot Johnson’s time in the Show saw him demonstrate that he just wasn’t quite good enough to play SS and that he just didn’t hit enough to play anywhere else.  Reid Brignac was cut from a similar cloth, but think slightly more glove and much less bat. It was no secret that Brignac’s time with the team was running short as Reid had seemed to sour decision-makers with his antics on and off the field. I wish I could say he will be missed. Elliot Johnson has passed through waivers before and there may still be a chance for him to sneak through again.

The Rays were smart to wait as long as possible for two reasons. 1) You should never give anything away so they were smart to look to try to receive anything in trade for either or both of these guys and 2) the closer we get to Spring Training the fewer the amount of available jobs meaning an increased likelihood of each player passing through waivers and remaining in the only organization either has ever known.

With one more spot needed to sign Luke Scott it would appear to be a foregone conclusion that Dane De La Rosa should be thinking about the tedious process of having the Post Office forward his mail.  Much like Elliot Johnson, DDLR was a fine player that just isn’t quite good enough to be a contributor on a team with playoff aspirations.

These players should not take this as a knock, but as a sign of how strong the Rays organization is these days.  Twas a time when these guys not only would have room on the 40-man, but they’d also be starting in the Show.  Those days are long gone and it’s an enviable position when the players that are cut could probably provide value to a team in MLB.  Good luck to both players as they likely move on to another organization.  Here’s a look at the Rays 40-man and contract situations after these moves:

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Note that I have estimated Luke Scott’s 2013 contract as a one year deal for $3,000,000 with no options.  Also note that I have no insight into that and hope that he signs for less and they get cheap options tacked on.  Further note that this puts the Rays 2013 payroll at roughly $56M if we count Price’s $4M deferment against 2014.  Here’s the preceding years of the Friedberg era (I realize their names are Friedman and Sternberg this is an attempt at being clever.  No need to call the ACLU):

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The interesting takeaway here is that if the Rays want to keep their three-year average payroll around $60M then they can bump up 2014 payroll to around $60M.  With roughly $33M already on the books, including the extra David Price deferment assuming he isn’t traded before that’s paid, and a bevy of cheap starters on the way, the Rays could be poised to make a splash in free agency, or more likely, extend one of their homegrown talents throughout that player’s prime.

The way that this front office manages money while not letting quality suffer is to be commended.

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About Jason Hanselman

Rays fan.
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5 Responses to Rays Waive Potential 25th Man Candidates

  1. Pleasant to see EJ getting some love on the way out. Stick him back at 2B, give him regular ABs, he’s decent low-cost option.

  2. budman3 says:

    The Rays are committed to 17 players with ML contracts(including Scott) which amounts to about 57(if you give Scott 3 million). But that doesn’t include the 8 or so players that will make the roster at league minimum, call it .5 million each. That brings the projection to about 61-62 million. Not sure if there is much room left for another notable signing or trade. Although I hope I’m wrong because another decent bat is needed, IMO.

    • Jason Hanselman says:

      The above chart does include those players making the major league minimum of $490,000 this year. I’ve only included 24 guys on the 25-man so you can bank on another reliever whether that’s Wright, Lueke, Torres, or whoever that player will make the league min or slightly higher. The payroll is currently slated to be under $57M. Refer to the table above if you do not believe me.

      • budman3 says:

        I was going off of Cots site and included the league minimum guys like yours. I did not include Price’s deferred salary for next year(which they do). My difference is the 5 million dollar signing bonus he received at the end of December for his tax benefit. While it may be counted as 2012 payroll, the likelihood is that it’s 5 million that would be seen as going towards this years payroll obligation, although maybe not on the books. It is still payroll coming out of the Rays pocket.

  3. Jason Hanselman says:

    I’ve included the 5M, but prefer to count the 4M against next year. Luke Scott has officially signed for $2.75M on a one year deal and can earn another $.75M through various performance-related bonusi. So I was only off a quarter of a million dollars on his deal and I was correct that DDLR is the man out the door. So it looks like the Rays will be coming in around $56.5M, though who knows how long before that changes again. We’ll have more in the coming week now that the 40-man has been basically finalized. Of course there’s still the Minor League guys that received Spring Training Invites and Wil Myers to add to the 40-man so plenty still to sort out.

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