The Rays Tank: Sonny Signs, Gruden Grumbles, And Other Notes And News And Stuff And Whatnot

SEATTLE - JUNE 03: Starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine #21 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 3, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Well, the year of our Lord two thousand and eleven draws its finals, raspy breathes, and as such, we know that Friedman's transaction list is aboutta heat up. AF's most recent transaction -- releasing RHP Andy Sonnanstine -- has already had a reciprocal response from his former nemesis, ol' Theo Epstein.

The new Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations has signed the former Tampa Bay Rays starter to a split contract, meaning he has dual contracts (minor and major league deals) with disparate levels of pay. As I already noted, I think the signing makes a great deal of sense for the Cubs who have about as much SP depth as the shallow pool of tears shed when Jim Hendry was fired.

Sonny can also stay with the Cubs in 2013 as he is arbitration eligible. I think/hope he can turn his ugh ways around and be a fine 5th starter in the NL. I mean, who doesn't like Sonny?

In case you are still swaggering back into reality from a turkey-induced haze of holiday revelry, Jason had a great article looking at the contract returns of several notable former Rays. "Merry Gift-Giving Holiday," said the GMs presiding over those deals.

Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors gives us a dandy run-down of the remaining power hitters on the free agent wire. Sternfan1 actually made a solid argument (...I think that phrase just broke my keyboard) for signing Jorge Posada as a 25th man on the roster. I'll say: If Jorge will accept that role and accept the Rays' likely low-ball contract offer, then yes please. I doubt it happens though -- at least not with two other teams in the mix for Posada. Axisa also looks at something both we and Rancel have addressed this month -- extending Matt Joyce. Get it done, guys.

Speaking of which, Matt Joyce now has a Twitter account that Jason verified through a source: @sweetswingin20 . He signed up yesterday and is already approaching 900 followers.

And on a spandex and butt-slapping note, it looks like former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden is ready to return to the NFL as a head coach. Cool. Just stay away from my teams, Chuckie.

With our starting pitchers still involved in trade rumors, David Fung of Beyond the Boxscore gives us a graphical look at what is left on the starting pitching free agent market.

Other tidbits:

  • Former Rays farmhand OF Chris Carter (not the Oakland Athletics Carter, but the one who ended the season with the Atlanta Braves) has signed with the Seibu Lions of Japan's NPB league, presumably to play DH. Carter had a 106 wRC+ and 10 homers with the Durham Bulls last year, so he could be around average with the bat in Japan. All the best to him!
  • The official Tampa Bay Rays website has a decent article on their front page, reflecting on the Rays' 2011 season. I recommend watching the video; 'twil give you the goose-pimples of nostalgia.
  • Oh, and Buster Olney (Insider account required) says the New York Yankees have the second best bullpen in the MLB. I am inclined to agree with him, but I still prefer our total roster to theirs.
  • Willy Aybar is trying to resume a career in Japan but is first throwing himself at the mercy of the court in the Dominican Republic trying to get his punishment lifted.
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