Signing James Shields to a long-term contract that could last seven years and be worth up to $44 million was a big deal.
But the Tampa Bay Devil Rays don't know what impact -- if any -- it will have on their hopes to sign left-hander Scott Kazmir to a long-term deal.
Kazmir said it wouldn't really be applicable, that their situations are different since Shields is five years from free agency and Kazmir is three away and already eligible for arbitration.
"First of all, I'm happy for Shields," Kazmir said. "I think we're in different situations. So that's not really going to affect me. He's coming out of his first full year, and I'm arbitration-eligible already, so it's a little different. Really different."
Kazmir could see Shields' contract as a positive that the Rays were willing to lock up another pitcher, as well as a promise that the money is there for him, too. Or he could take it as a challenge that he still has something to prove to get his. Or even an insult that they took care of Shields first.
Or Kazmir could just look ahead to free agency after the 2010 season and see what he gets, when he would be a 27-year-old lefty ace.
For now, he insists he isn't looking to go anywhere.
"My mind's pretty much the same as always -- I want to stay here," he said. "I'm always open to talk to (Andrew) Friedman (the team's executive vice president of baseball operations)." The question, however, will be "if we can come to agreement."
--C Josh Paul, who missed a large part of last season with an elbow injury, returned to the Rays on a minor league contract. He will battle Shawn Riggans and Mike DiFelice to be Dioner Navarro's backup.
--LHP Brian Anderson was signed to a minor league contract with the idea that he could join the bullpen sometime during the season. Anderson, 35, missed the last two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. He isn't expected to be ready in April but could open the season in the minors and work his way back into form.
Carl Crawford (AP)
--LF Carl Crawford might report to spring training in the best shape of his career based on a more extensive, and intensive, workout regimen. Crawford and LHP Scott Kazmir share an agent, and word from Brian Peters is that Crawford has increased his workouts and improved his diet. "He's always in tip-top shape," Kazmir said, "but he always wants to get better."
--Prospect LHP Jake McGee said a week working out with RHP James Shields showed him first hand how much hard work it takes to get to and stay in the big leagues. "I thought I was in pretty good shape, and it was tough to walk the next day," McGee said. "It was a good experience. It kind of showed me what I have to do."
--In answering a question about why the Rays wouldn't pay for their proposed new $450 million stadium themselves, team president Matt Silverman claimed they had lost $20-30 million in cash over the last two years. Though Forbes magazine has suggested the team makes $20 million a year, Silverman said its accounting methods are incomplete. "We're cash-flow negative," he said. "The business hasn't been self-sustaining in the past. ... We're getting close to getting back on our feet." Silverman said a new stadium "will help us significantly" but reiterated that the team will make no demands or threats.
--In an effort to increase their injury-prevention program -- which includes things such as strength-testing pitchers arms to see how they recover from between-starts throwing sessions -- the Rays have added a third major league trainer, promoting Nick Paparesta from the minor league rehab post.
BY THE NUMBERS: 53 -- Players on the spring roster, with camp scheduled to open Feb. 15.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's just logical." -- OF Rocco Baldelli on plans to take it slowly in spring training after missing most of the last three seasons with injuries.
The Rays filled most of their holes before they even got to the winter meetings, having adding RHP Matt Garza and SS Jason Bartlett in a blockbuster deal with Minnesota for OF Delmon Young, and signing RHP Troy Percival. They sought to improve their defense while bolstering their rotation and bullpen.
ARRIVALS: RHP Troy Percival (free agent from Cardinals), RHP Matt Garza (trade with Twins), SS Jason Bartlett (trade with Twins), OF Cliff Floyd (free agent from Cubs), RHP Scott Munter (free agent from Giants).
DEPARTURES: RHP Brian Stokes (traded to Mets), OF Delmon Young (traded to Twins), INF Brendan Harris (traded to Twins), OF Elijah Dukes (traded to Nationals), INF Josh Wilson (claimed off waivers by Pirates), RHP Shawn Camp (free agent, signed minor league deal with Blue Jays).
FREE AGENTS: C Raul Casanova, INF/OF Greg Norton, RHP Jay Witasick.
The Rays declined their option on Norton.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: None remaining.
IN LIMBO: The Rays went from deep in outfielders to looking for help, and from short on pitchers to having some to deal. Given their preference for roster flexibility, RHP Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel could be available, as well as LHP J.P. Howell.
OF Rocco Baldelli (hamstrings) has been working out all winter and has reported no problems.
INF/OF Greg Norton (arthroscopic surgery in October 2007 to remove loose bodies in his left elbow and have his ulnar nerve transposed) should be 100 percent by Jan. 1.
LF Carl Crawford (strained left groin) missed the final 12 games of the 2007 season but should be fine.