AL Notes: Rays, Tigers, Angels, Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors

The Tampa Bay Rays have money to spend and an uncharacteristic willingness to entertain higher profile free agents like designated hitter Nelson Cruz this offseason. The front office, however, does not feel any particular urgency to spend that nest egg. Working on a rolling five-year budget, the Rays won’t be shy about pushing this payroll space over to next season or later if they can’t get the players they want at a reasonable price, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin pegs their current payroll at a meager $32MM (roster resource estimates closer to $37MM), more than enough space for additions even before reaching last season’s payroll number of $76MM. Still, their 90-win 2018 was an incredible achievement in part because of the large number of pre-arbitration players on the roster, but those same players won’t be inexpensive forever. Hence the willingness of the Rays front office to bank any remaining funds for future seasons if they don’t like the prices in free agency. Speculatively speaking, that could point to contract extensions for pre-arb players like those they signed with Evan Longoria and Matt Moore in the past, or it could simply be language intended to prime their expectant fanbase for the eventuality of a disappointing winter. With the possibility of a splashy free agent signing on the table for the first time in a long time, the Rays are surely aware of the excitement forming around this offseason. Some more notes from around the American League as teams prepare for tomorrow’s winter meetings…

Speaking of Matt Moore, he and the Detroit Tigers found something in common: they both viewed Moore as a starting pitcher. He came out of the bullpen for much of last season,

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