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Rays pick up options on James Shields, Kyle Farnsworth

Oct 31, 2011, 6:11 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning during Game 2 of their MLB American League Division Series baseball playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Reuters

The Rays reached decisions on their three option calls Monday afternoon, exercising the $7.5 million option on James Shields’ contract and the $3.3 million option on Kyle Farnsworth‘s deal.

Declined was Kelly Shoppach‘s $3.2 million option. He’ll get a $300,000 buyout.

Shields’ option was a no-brainer.┬áThe Rays also hold options on his services for 2013 ($9 million) and 2014 ($12 million). Shields went 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA last season. He led the majors with 11 complete games and he was second in the AL in innings (249 1/3) and third in ERA.

Farnsworth’s option was also a pretty easy call after he finished with a 2.18 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in 57 2/3 innings as the team’s closer. It’s doubtful that he’ll be so good again, but for $3.3 million, it’s well worth bringing him back. Plus, the Rays would have had to pay him $650,000 anyway had they declined the option.

Shoppach gets let go despite a late surge that saw him hit four homers in 29 at-bats during September and two more against the Rangers in the ALDS. Shoppach, though, was pretty brutal overall during his two years in Tampa Bay, hitting .185 in 379 at-bats. That did come with 16 homers, but even so, he drove in just 39 runs.

A solid defensive catcher, Shoppach shouldn’t have much difficulty finding work, but he’s probably looking at a paycut to the $1.5 million-$2 million range. The Rays figure to seek a catcher upgrade this winter, though they could re-sign Shoppach if nothing else comes to fruition.

  1. hittfamily - Oct 31, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Farnesworth actually surprised me. If they stay in the same 38-40 million range, with Upton, Longo, Peralta, and Price all getting raises, they have about 10 million to spend. Now they have 6.5 with Farnesworth. They lose Shoppach and Kotchmann, and currently don’t have a MLB capable 1st baseman, C, or SS. 10 mil goes a lot further to fix those needs than 6.5 million. I thought for sure they would take the Type A draft picks for Farnesworth, and install Jake McGee as the new closer.

    They have had very good luck in finding cheap relievers, and don’t understand burning a third of the available cash on a late 30’s reliever who will not duplicate his ’11 success. Hopefully they trade him. With all the talented arms they have, 10% of the payroll should not be spent on a marginal closer in the twilight of a very forgettable career.

    • hittfamily - Nov 1, 2011 at 9:34 PM

      Not that any one has looked, but I meant 48-50 million. Shields has to be traded, because they have 6.5 million to find a C, DH, 1B, and SS. Cya James.

  2. Joe - Nov 1, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    I’d be happy to see Shoppach back in Boston on a one-year deal, to split time with Saltalamacchia while Lavarnway gets a bit more seasoning in AAA.

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