Two quick hits this morning from Joel Sherman of the NY Post.
First, The Rays made have put Chad Bradford on the market at least to the NY Mets.
The Rays offered Chad Bradford to the Mets because $3.5 million is too much in Tampa's world for a set-up man, and Ray officials were shocked when the Mets told them it is too much for them, as well.
With relievers like Bob Howry signing a deal for less than $3 million a year, it's going to be a tough sell for Friedman to move a specialist such as Bradford at a higher cost. I've always thought it would be a good idea to throw Bradford in the closer's mix . You're main goal is keeping the ball in the yard late in the game and Bradford's career HR/9 of 0.48 is much better than Dan Wheeler's 1.16 or Troy Percival's 1.06(1.77 in 08). I know Bradford's true value is getting that late inning double play ball, but if it's a one run game in the 9th inning and he hasn't been used yet, then why not?
The silver lining here is if a team like the Mets are balking at a $3.5 million dollar contract, the Rays could be players in a reduced reliever market much like what we've heard about in the corner OF/DH market.
Speaking of the OF/DH market, Sherman's second Rays related note is about Rocco Baldelli. We've heard of the interest from the Phillies and Red Sox, but now the Yankees seem to be getting involved.
The Yankees are among at least a half-dozen teams talking to the representatives for free agent Rocco Baldelli. The Red Sox and Phillies are among other clubs, and Tampa also wants him back in his role from last year - part of a platoon both as a right fielder and a DH. Baldelli probably will not take a big-dollar amount to sign, probably a one-year guarantee between $1 million and $2 million with a lot of incentives - and perhaps a 2010 option tied to games played.
I've gone back and forth on Rocco Baldelli this offseason. At first, I liked the idea of resigning him to platoon with Gabe Gross, and while it's still a viable option, I just think we can get similar production for less money and less of a heath risk.