Every year, SB Nation conducts an offseason simulation with each team being represented by their corresponding team blog. This year's sim will take place next week, beginning Monday at 9:00 AM. I will attempt to run the team much like I believe Andrew Friedman would (play for the present and the future simultaneously), except for one important difference—lot's of media leaks.
I have been given a budget of right around $60 million (taken from comments Stuart Sternberg's made). I'm comfortable stretching that to $70 million, but only for a good reason, and only if the team is a clear contender. That means that the trade or non-trade of Price is pivotal. If Price is shipped off for prospects only, we're going to be under budget. If Price remains a Ray, or if his return includes Miguel Cabrera to play first base, the budget can stretch. Right now, the total salary sits at $71 million, but that's not for a playoff-caliber team, so there's work to be done.
Trading officially opens at 9:00 AM on Monday, and I've heard your suggestions and will attempt to act on them, but there are three decisions that need to be made early in the week.
- Monday at noon: Extend qualifying offers. I do not plan to extend any [$14.2 million] qualifying offers (candidates would be James Loney or Fernando Rodney). This is a no-brainer, correct?
- Tuesday at noon: Pick up or buy out team options. I will definitely pick up the $7 million option on Ben Zobrist, and the $5 million option on Yunel Escobar. Without inside information as to his health, I have no idea whether Andrew Friedman should pick up the $2 million option on Juan Carlos Oviedo, but I'm going to. The most difficult question is David DeJesus and his $6.5 million option ($1.5 million buyout). He's not without value, but it's tough value for the Rays to stomach. I'm currently in trade talks with several teams.
- Wednesday at noon: Tender or non-tender arbitration-eligible players. The only interesting question here is Jeff Niemann and his likely $3 million salary. Thoughts?
More from DRaysBay:
- The Rays' roster: 2014 and beyond
- The Rays' Gold Glove Snub
- Gauging Interest in David Price, Part 4: Cleveland and Cincinnati
- 2013 Prospects in Review: Left Field