In 2008, the Rays look to spend over $40 million, a 70 percent increase. The St. Petersburg Times reports:
The Rays have more than $20-million committed to seven players (Carl Crawford, $5.25-million; Troy Percival, $4-million; Cliff Floyd, $2.75-million; Akinori Iwamura, $2.4-million; Al Reyes, $2.3-million; Rocco Baldelli, $2.25-million; Gary Glover $1.075-million); four players remaining in arbitration (Carlos Pena, Scott Kazmir, Dan Wheeler and Jonny Gomes) who could make $13-million to $14-million; 12 or 13 players who will get the $390,000 minimum or slightly more; and openings for a backup catcher, super-utility type and left-handed reliever. Plus millions in incentives.
The $40+ million blows away the 20% increase touted by principal owner Stuart Sternberg, but certainly solidifies a few key position players and bullpen arms. Assuming the arbitration cases are settled amicably, it might just be enough to get the team out of the basement.
A lot depends on the status of Rocco Baldelli. After a couple of big years in '03 and '04, Baldelli has spent most of the past three seasons on the DL. He missed all of 2005, half of 2006, and had just 137 at-bats last season. If he can return to form, the Rays might find themselves looking down on the Orioles come September.