It has been a quiet off-season for the Rays. Other than the acquisitions of Brendan Harris and Akinori Iwamura, there has been little news regarding the Tampa Bay Baseball Club other than various trade rumors that are yet to come to fruition. Of course Elijah Dukes celebrated his promotion to the 40-man roster and bump in pay-grade by getting arrested for marijuana possession. However, this is hardly news. We would have been less surprised if Barry Zito signed with the Rays. What is important, is that the chances of the Rays moving Dukes to another team took a major hit after Dukes took his hit.
The Rays reached agreements with two of their arbitration eligible players before the team's self-imposed deadline. Ty Wiggington will make $2.7 million while Seth McClung agreed to a 1-year deal worth $750K. The Rays still must go to arbitration for catcher Josh Paul. His contract will likely be similar to McClung's. These signings will push the 2007 payroll close to $28 million, still considerably less than the $43 million payroll of 2006. In addition, the Rays still have two spots open on the 25-man roster. At this point there is little indication who the last two players will be. It was thought that Elijah Dukes had a shot at one of those spots. However, we must wonder if the team will even give him a look following his latest brainfart.
Last week the St. Pete Times reported that the Rays had been negotiating with former Rays pitcher and current thorn-in-Mets-fan's-asses, Victor Zambrano. The thought of having Zambrano and Kid K in the same rotation is an intriguing one. Just think if the wild-one could earn 10 victories in 2007, matching his total in parts of three seasons with the Mets. We would never be able to look at a Mets fan again without laughing out loud. Of course we then saw THIS headline and wondered if Victor had been hanging out with Elijah Dukes recently. Then we remembered that there is a Zambrano in the majors that knows how to pitch.