Like most teams, the Rays have a lot of decisions to make regarding free agency. MLB.com's Bill Chastain has a good writeup of the situation, along with salary projections for the players the team is keeping.
Wade Davis, Evan Longoria, Zobrist and Matt Moore will cost $15.3 million. Shields and Rodney are locks to have their options picked up, so add another $12.75 million. Arbitration-eligible players include Johnson, Joyce, Sam Fuld, David Price, Jeff Niemann and Burke Badenhop. If tendered, add Ben Francisco and Ryan Roberts to that mix and the arbitration group comes to approximately $20 million -- moving the payroll in the neighborhood of $48 million.
That's roughly $48 million without signing any free agents. The team has some flexibility, but they could have holes to fill at catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, the outfield and designated hitter. That doesn't count the rest of the bullpen either where J.P. Howell and Joel Peralta are free agents.
The payroll was $64 million last season. It looks like it's going to be hard to keep it below that in 2013.
-These playoffs were not an offensive showcase, that much is for certain. As Jeff Sullivan points out, all 10 postseason teams combined for a 3.05 ERA. The Giants had a .298 team OBP in the playoffs and won the World Series. The Rays surely could have done that, dammit.
-Over at Baseball Prospectus R.J. Anderson reviews all of the players that were non-tendered last season. No surprise here, Jeff Keppinger was the best of the bunch by a wide margin.
-I really dislike articles like this one by Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown. In it he talks about the Tigers' five day layoff before the World Series and how it may have stalled their momentum. It's a very lazy argument. If the Tigers had come out and won the series there would be articles written about how the time off had helped them in some way against a Giants team that had played three more games. Lines like this one are especially bad:
How else to explain Miguel Cabrera batting .231? Prince Fielder with one lousy single in 14 at-bats?
Maybe because the Giants pitched them extremely well? Or stuff like that happens over an extremely small sample?