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Transaction Report: Rays end arbitration cases

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2/16/05

The Rays made their final significant moves of the offseason on the day pitchers & catchers reported, wrapping up both of their outstanding arbitration cases, one through the process and one by coming to terms on a contract. More details on each follow the jump.

Transaction

The Move-The Rays resigned 1B Travis Lee to avoid arbitration.

The Terms-One year, $2.45 million

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Transaction

The Move-The Rays beat C Josh Paul in their scheduled arbitration hearing.

The Terms-Paul will earn $475,000 next year.

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2/16/05

Transaction

The Move-The Rays resigned 1B Travis Lee to avoid arbitration.

The Terms-One year, $2.45 million

The Details-Travis Lee and the Rays avoided arbitration on Thursday by agreeing to a one year, $2.45 million contract. Lee and the Rays were set to go to arbitration on Monday over the salary dispute. The arb figure wanted by Lee was $2.9 million, the Rays offered $2 million, so the deal reaches a happy medium between those two figures, although both were a hefty raise over Lee's $1.3 million 2005 salary.

The Analysis-Although just a one year deal, $2.45 mil seems a little much for a below average hitting first baseman, defense be damned. You've got to expect 1B Wes Bamjkston to get the call at some point this season from Durham, so Lee is the odd man out at that point. In which case, wouldn't it just make more sense to move someone like Russ Branyan to first or switch Huff to first, put Gomes in right, and use Branyan as the DH? I mean, you can get a decnt offesnive first baseman relatively easily, the Rays had one last year at AAA Durham in Eric Munson. But for a temporary stopgap until Bankston arrives, $2.45 mil seems a bit much.

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Transaction

The Move-The Rays beat C Josh Paul in their scheduled arbitration hearing.

The Terms-Paul will earn $475,000 next year.

The Details-The Rays won their arbitration case with C Josh Paul, only the second arb hearing in club history, and as a rasult, Paul will make $475,000 instead of $750,000 next season. Paul, who will be locking horns with Kevin Cash in spring training for the backup catcher's job, was traded for in a December deal that sent Rays minor leaguer Travis Schlichting. He is best known for that fateful play in the 2005 ALCS when he failed to tag A.J Pierzynski out on a strikeout that would come back to bite Chicago.

The Analysis-Whether or not the Travis Schlichting deal comes back to bite the Rays, you've got to like the senario where your backup catcher makes under half a million bucks. Now granted, Kevin Cash may yet win out the position battle, but in the battle of bad catchers, the cheaper one wins, and now that the Rays have pointed out how bad Paul is to win an arb hearing, they can see that on the field of play this year. But seriously, what am I supposed to say here? Rats, we didn't have to pay more for a bad catcher?

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Photo Credit: Lee-TSN