The Tampa Bay Rays have a number of players who will be eligible for free agency this off-season, but are focusing on re-signing James Loney and Fernando Rodney, reports Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
Rays general manager Andrew Friedman told Mooney that he will wait to see what the market value is for both players. Tampa Bay had the lowest attendance in the majors this season, which could cause payroll to fall from the 2013 mark of $61 million.
Friedman spoke openly about the payroll issues, stating:
"I think it's safe to say we're not going to have a lot of headroom from a payroll perspective. That being said, we've always been very creative in terms of how we put together the best 25-man roster we can. That's our focus and our goal, and we're confident when we get to Port Charlotte next February we'll be in position to have a very good year."
Loney and Rodney, however, have both expressed interest in returning to Tampa Bay, and may stay within the Rays price range. Loney had a nice bounce-back season after signing a one-year, $2 million contract last winter, batting .299/.348/.430. The first baseman only hit 13 home runs, which could depress his value.
Rodney had an inconsistent 2013, posted a 3.38 ERA with 37 saves, but blew eight saves during the regular season. The right-hander struggled with his command, walking nearly five batters per nine innings.