This Monday was a busy day for Rays. During the same day the club's tender decisions were due, the Rays traded for another bullpen arm. Andrew Friedman picked up right-handed Burke Badenhop from the Miami Marlins, in exchange for minor league catcher Jake Jefferies. Like the earlier trade for Josh Lueke, this one was also a surprise. Another mediocre catcher traded for another mediocre reliever. It's obvious now that the Rays are heavily emphasizing on reinforcing the bullpen. Badenhop went 2-3 with a 4.10 ERA for the Marlins last year. The 28 year-old has a career 4.34 ERA through his four big league seasons. The stats are nothing special, but Marlins fans still seem to love the guy. "The Hopper", as he is nicknamed, has been a fan favorite in the Marlins community. Hopefully he'll also be a hit with the Rays; on and off the field.
Besides negotiating the Badenhop trade, the Rays also had some tender options to make. B.J. Upton, David Price, Joel Peralta, Jeff Niemann, J.P. Howell, and Andy Sonnanstine were all arbitration-eligible before the deadline. As expected, Upton, Price, Peralta, and Niemann were all tendered. Both Sonnanstine and Howell on the other hand, were projected to be non-tendered.
Howell posted a lopsided 6.16 ERA last year, and Sonnanstine put up a high 5.55 ERA. At the end of the day, the Rays decided to tender Howell and part ways with Sonnanstine. Both were ineffective pitchers last year, but the Rays see much more value in Howell because of their efforts to rebuild the bullpen. I wasn't surprised by any of the Rays' choices at the tender deadline. It was clearly time for Sonnanstine to go, as he's just not the same pitcher that he was back in '08. Though Rays fans should never forget how much Sonny meant to the team's magical run in '08. As for Howell, I think the Rays still have hope that he'll be able to recover from his big shoulder injury.