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Rays and Wade Davis agree to long-term contract worth up to $35.1 million

Mar 31, 2011, 11:56 AM EDT

wade-davis-rays Reuters

Wade Davis is entering his second full season in the majors and wouldn’t have been arbitration eligible until 2013, but today the Rays announced that they’ve signed the 25-year-old right-hander to a long-term contract extension worth up to $35.1 million.

According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times the contract is worth at least $12.6 million for four seasons, with the Rays holding team options for 2015, 2016, and 2017 that if exercised would be worth an additional $22.5 million.

If all seven years of the contract are exercised the Rays would be buying out Davis’ final two seasons of minimum salaried serfdom, three seasons of arbitration eligibility, and first two seasons of free agency. Getting all that for $35.1 million would end up being a tremendous bargain for Tampa Bay, but that is offset by the risking of handing $12.6 million in guaranteed money to a young pitcher who would have been cheap until 2013 and was already under team control through 2015.

Davis, who was a third-round pick in 2004 and debuted in late-2009, has a 4.02 ERA, .253 opponents’ batting average, and 149/75 K/BB ratio in 204 career innings. He looks like a solid mid-rotation starter right now and may still have the potential to develop into a solid No. 2 guy.

  1. seattlej - Mar 31, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Good move. If you’re the Rays you probably need to make these kind of gambles where you think they’ll pay off if you want to be competitive.

    It worked with Longoria, but doing it with a young pitcher seems to be a much riskier endeavor.

    • florida76 - Mar 31, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      Rays are definitely taking a risk, since future team payrolls could be dwindling. The attendance projects to a downhill slope with a team of less quality. If you commit too much $ for solid players, the chances are extremely high for the better players to leave. 2008 will seem like a long time ago pretty soon.

      • lbehrendt - Mar 31, 2011 at 7:19 PM

        The risk is not from declining attendance. If Davis performs and the Rays don’t have the money to pay him, the Rays can trade Davis to any number of eager and wealthier teams. The risk is that Davis gets injured or loses his stuff.

  2. lbehrendt - Mar 31, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Exhibit 8,735 for why the Rays are the best organization in baseball.

    • florida76 - Mar 31, 2011 at 9:48 PM

      Declining attendance will cause a further reduction in payroll, forcing a trade. The Rays have a fine organization, but they must win a world title to be number one.

  3. Reflex - Mar 31, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Yes, great move. This and the Longoria deal were both really smart. Need to do the same for some of their other ‘prospect’ talent.

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