Rays offer Arbitration to Crawford, Soriano, Among Others; No offer for Pena or Wheeler | The Process Report

Rays offer Arbitration to Crawford, Soriano, Among Others; No offer for Pena or Wheeler

In typical Rays’ fashion, the team waited until  tonight before announcing which pending free agents would be offered arbitration. As expected Carl Crawford (A) and Rafael Soriano (A) led the group that was offered arbitration.

The rest of the group includes: Detroit Tiger Joaquin Benoit (B), Grant Balfour (A), Randy Choate (B), as well as suprise offers to Brad Hawpe (B) and Chad Qualls (B). After terrible 2010 seasons, Hawpe and Qualls would seem like candidates to accept arbitration – and guaranteed millions of dollars – but there may be secret head nod agreements that both will decline (at least I hope). The next challenge (or Hawpe at least) will be to secure a big league contract. A similar situation plagued the Rays back when Brian Shouse declined arbitration but could only find a minor league deal.

The only two eligible players not offered arbitration were Carlos Pena (B) and Dan Wheeler (A). I mentioned on twitter this afternoon that I might consider offering Pena arbitration given the fact similar free agents – Aubrey Huff and Victor Martinez – have done well on the market, but in the end the Rays decided the risk of him accepting wasn’t worth the supplemental draft pick. The non-offer to Wheeler was expected and the team is likely to try and retain Big City at a lower rate.

With the seven offers, the Rays now have to potential to add 10 draft picks within the first few rounds of the 2011 draft. Now we wait and see who signs where and what that means for Tampa Bay’s future.



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