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Rays Sign Joe Nelson

Miami Herald

Reliever Joe Nelson is a Tampa Bay Ray.

           On Wednesday, the right-hander, whom the Marlins non-tendered, agreed to terms on a one-year deal for $1.3 million.

           Nelson was contacted by 20 teams after the Marlins parted company with the 34-year-old reliever, who turned in his best major league season in 2008.

Nelson at 1.3 million is an excellent deal for the Rays. He went 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA(3.97 tRA*) with the Marlins last year and had an excellent k/9 of 10.0(11.6% SwStr). He split evenly on his fb/gb% around 38% each. He had an FIP of 3.45 last year and while projections have him around 4.0 this year, it is still a good deal. He's 34 years old and works primarily off a fastball/"vulcan"changeup combo.

Career OPS against splits RH .768 LH .634

More from The Heater

Nelson truly could not be more excited, saying: "It's been a fabulous Christmas Eve for us. I'm very happy to be staying in the state of Florida and I'm extremely happy to be playing for the defending AL champs, and I hope I can be a good addition to an already great bullpen."

With three kids age 5 and under, Nelson said it was important for him and his wife, Teresa Cortinas, to play close to home. Plus, Teresa is a USF med school graduate, so she is excited about getting back to the Tampa Bay area as well. "The overall fit was great. It really couldn't have worked out any better,'' Nelson said.

The Marlins offered Nelson 650k which is 1/2 of what he will receive from the Rays. Even at 1.3, the Rays signed Nelson for below market value.

From Fangraphs 

Nelson is about +3 runs above replacement. Multiply that by an LI in the vicinity of 1.20-1.45 and he could be worth anywhere from +3 to +6 runs above replacement. Assuming the going rate of $5 mil/win, Nelson, at fair market value, would sign for 1-yr/$2.5 mil, essentially the same contract recently inked by Chan Ho Park.