Back in October, Daniel Russell took a look at what the Rays' payroll in 2016 could be.
Now that all but one (Drew Smyly) arbitration eligible cases have been settled, and with Corey Dickerson and Steve Pearce officially on the roster, we have a better idea of where the Rays stand for financial commitments in 2016.
Arbitration Case Results:
All projections provided by MLBTR.
The above is not including Logan Forsythe's 3-year, $10.25 million extension signed earlier this month. Forsythe has a $2.5m signing bonus, and is set to only earn $1m this year.
Alex Cobb and Jake McGee were heavily involved in trade rumors this off-season, combined to make almost $9MM, and set to go through arbitration one more time before hitting free agency. The Rays settled with each player for a total of $8.8m, and then promptly traded one of them.
In total, the Jake McGee trade allows the Rays to save more than $4 million in payroll by swapping his salary for Corey Dickerson's rookie contract. Now that the deal is finalized, and that Steve Pearce is officially on the roster, we can sort out next year's financial obligations.
Looking ahead, here is how the payroll looks for the Rays.
*Siding with the higher number and assuming Smyly wins his arbitration hearing.
With a possible deal, and possibly another trade, the Rays could shed even more salary heading into 2016. Desmond Jennings is either relegated to the bench in this scenario, or displaces Steven Souza in the starting line up.
Jennings seems to be the odd-man out, and stands on a list with Rene Rivera (blocking Curt Casali) and James Loney (blocking Richie Shaffer) as likely Rays to be traded. If all three players were shipped out, the team would shed an additional $13 million in salary.
The extra money could be used to sign pillow contracts to players looking to rebuild their value, or the front office could head into this season in hopes of fielding the lowest payroll in baseball. Either way, the Rays will be in contention for that dubious honor.