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Let Me Upgrade You

Finding value is something Andrew Friedman does extremely well. In the Money in the Bank series I did last week, I showed how good Friedman was at getting value for a low price. This off-season, Andrew Friedman has shown us another one of his skills, relocation of assets or simply upgrading....

Upgrade-to improve the quality, value, effectiveness, or performance of something.

Status quo is not something Andrew Friedman does well. While some teams are loyal to a fault, Andrew Friedman is not. He could have brought back 2008 contributors, Eric Hinske and Cliff Floyd. He could have resigned fan favorites Jonny Gomes and Rocco Baldelli (he still could, but at his price). He could have kept the same rotation and bullpen that won him a pennant in 2008, but instead of doing that, he got creative.

He traded Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce, effectively upgrading two spots with one move. He drafted Derek Rodriguez in the Rule 5 draft and signed Joe Nelson to a below market deal. Both Rodriguez and Nelson have solid track records vs. left-handed batters, making the need for a LOOGY insignificant. In this latest move he brings Pat "The Impact Bat" Burrell to replace Cliff Floyd, Eric Hinske, Rocco Baldelli and Jonny Gomes all in one.The best part? He did it without overpaying.

Estimating raises for Hinske($2 mil) and Jackson($2.5 mil) and picking up the options on Floyd and Miller would've cost about $9 million for 2009. Those players combined for about three wins last year. If we replace those four with Burrell, Price, Joyce and Nelson, we're looking at about seven wins for around 11 million. Would you rather have the old four back and save the $2 million? And even if you add in buyouts to Baldelli, Floyd and Miller and push that total to around $15 million dollars you are still banking.

The going rate on a win is around $5 million dollars($4.84). The new crop of Rays are worth about four more wins. That's roughly $19 million dollars in upgrades, but will only cost $7 million more over the 2008 group including the buyouts. Many people thought the Rays would just let other teams set the market for them and sign whoever was left. Andrew Friedman basically just told the world if they call shots, I call audibles.