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Tampa Bay Rays' Biggest Winners and Losers of the Offseason so Far

Jamal WilburgCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2013

Tampa Bay Rays' Biggest Winners and Losers of the Offseason so Far

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    The Tampa Bay Rays offseason has been quiet overall, though, there have been moves made that will shape the team for 2014.

    David Price is still on the team, at least for the moment. The blockbuster deal that many feel is inevitable is still yet to occur.

    There have been plenty of other transactions that have occurred that will leave an impact for the players involved. As with a lot of deals, there are winners and losers.

    For the sake of this list, a winner is someone who is in a better position due to events that have occurred this offseason. Losers include players who have downgraded and players with unresolved situations that likely will result in a step backwards.

     

    All statistics and salary numbers courtesy of baseball-reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Honorable Mention: James Loney

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    Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    Depending on which lens you look through, James Loney could be classified as a winner or loser this offseason.

    His offseason could look like a financial loss since the three-year, $21 million deal agreed to with the Tampa Bay Rays fell well short of his offseason goal.

    Source: James Loney started offseason seeking a four-year, $40M deal. Belief is he's now seeking something in the three-year, $27-30M range.

    — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2013

    On the other hand, being in the position to receive a three-year deal of this magnitude just a year removed from his disappointing 2012 season is a victory.

Loser: Luke Scott

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    John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

    Luke Scott is heading to Korea to play professional baseball in 2014.

    While most baseball stories involve players leaving Asian countries to play baseball in the MLB, Scott is making the reverse trip to Korea to play for SK Wyverns.

    The 35-year-old Scott is coming off of two injury-plagued years as a designated hitter with the Tampa Bay Rays. His line during his Rays tenure was a disappointing .235/.304/.429.

    From 2008-2010, he averaged 25 home runs per season. In the three seasons that followed, his power production fizzled down to 11 home runs per season.

Loser: Fernando Rodney

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Fernando Rodney’s stock plummeted very quickly.

    In 2012, he set the MLB record for the lowest ERA for a relief pitcher in MLB history. He followed that performance by helping the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic.

    Then came the 2013 MLB season.

    In 2013, his ERA ballooned up to 3.38, and he blew a career-high eight saves.

    So far this offseason, he is without a team to pitch for.

Loser: Sam Fuld

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Sam Fuld had 155 career plate appearances prior to joining the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the Matt Garza trade.

    In his three seasons with the Rays, he averaged 218 plate appearances per season.

    His tenure with the Rays may have been the best opportunity for his career to serve as a late-inning defensive replacement.

    According to MLBTradeRumors.com, he is weighing offers from five teams for the 2014 season. All of the offers are minor league contracts with an invitation to spring training.

    If he is unable to make a team’s roster this spring, the 32-year-old will be among the oldest on the minor league bus next year.

Winner: Evan Longoria

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Evan Longoria has won in every non-baseball way this offseason.

    His headlines do not include contract negotiations, roster implications or aspirations of increased playing time. Instead, he is simply living the good life.

    His offseason so far includes his engagement to Jaime Edmondson, his interview with the Anchorman 2 cast and the opening of his sports lounge in Tampa.

Winner: David DeJesus

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    David DeJesus had never played in the postseason before 2013.

    At the beginning of the offseason, the Rays first exercised the $6.5 million club option they had available for the outfielder. The two sides then agreed to a two-year, $10.5 million contract with a club option for a third year.

    DeJesus’ two-year deal with #Rays is worth $10.5 million. Includes club option for third year. Represented by ACES.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 6, 2013

     

Winner: Heath Bell

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Heath Bell will be playing for his fourth team in as many seasons.

    From 2009-2011, Bell saved an average of 44 games in three consecutive All-Star seasons. In his last two seasons with the Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks he combined for 34 saves.

    Now he has the opportunity to join a Rays team that has had some recent success with struggling closers. The trade will be a win for Bell and the Rays if he can bounce back similar to the efforts of Rafael Soriano in 2010 and Fernando Rodney in 2012.

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