Luca Pacioli developed the world's first accounting method. It's called the "double-entry" method and works like a register. Rather than "losing" money, Pacioli would "transfer" the money towards another mean. The Rays seem to be attempting this, but perhaps it's more accurately described as a reallocation of assets. With Trever Miller's exit and the possibility of more purges from the Rays bullpen, the team is looking to free cash from the easiest and most volatile unit around.
Bullpens are easy to build and just as easily can collapse. Entering 2008, the Rays featured a number of millionaires in the bullpen; Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler, Trever Miller, Gary Glover, Al Reyes, and acquiring Chad Bradford in August. Exiting 2008, the Rays have retained only three of those players, with Bradford and Wheeler possible trade candidates and Percival vying to become the new Todd Jones. Despite none being the Rays best reliever, the team will have a little over 10 million tied into Bradford, Percival, and Wheeler. Purging one or two could result in a better bullpen along with more financial freedom. Wheeler and Percival are the top choices to dump. Unfortunately, not many teams are going to line up for a reliever who couldn't stay healthy despite multiple DL trips.
The concern over replacing them is well-placed, but easier than it appears. Let's take a look at their strengths and weaknesses:
+ Gets groundballs, doesn't allow homeruns, fun delivery.
- Doesn't strike anyone out, was a little walk happy..
+ Above replacement level, related to Dewayne Staats.
- Too many fly balls and homeruns.
+ Looks like bear
- Pitches like bear
Can these three be replaced by equal or better pitchers for less cost? Without a doubt. When we talked about our pitching situation we found Bradford, Wheeler, and Percival combined for 6 NLRS. Using their tRA* we projected them to combine for 7. That's not hard to replace. Need proof? Assume we'll use the Marcels projections and their FIPs, also assume the Rays acquire John Rheinecker, Sean Green, and make Jeff Niemann into a reliever (we'll knock a half of a run off of Niemann's projected FIP to account for the change, normally you'd assume a full run, but whatever.)
Combined the old trio account for nearly 9 NLRS.
Combined the new trio accounts for nearly 11 NLRS. (Note: there's a 10 inning difference, thanks to Green, but even if you take him down by 10 innings the new trio combines for 10 NLRS.)
Combined the old trio accounts for 10 million.
Combined the new trio accounts for a little over a million, and whatever the non-contending Mariners wish to receive for Green (an outfielder or DH, perhaps?), heck Thayer might even be able to replicate Green's 4.1 FIP at no cost, or Juan Salas.
That puts the Rays in a better financial and personnel positions, freeing up roughly eight million dollars and gaining 0.2 WAR, allowing them to make a run at a bat while having enough money for arbitration proceedings.