The end of the World Series on Wednesday night meant the beginning of what will be another busy offseason for the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 2014 roster will take some shape over the next week as Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his staff have to meet several contractual deadlines.
Led by first baseman James Loney and closer Fernando Rodney, nine Rays became free agents as soon as Boston finished off St. Louis in Game 6 of the World Series. Joining Loney and Rodney are catcher Jose Molina, pitchers Roberto Hernandez, Jamie Wright and Jesse Crain, designated hitters Delmon Young and Luke Scott and infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson.
The Rays have until Monday to tender contracts to their free agents. On Tuesday, the nine are free to negotiate with all 30 major league teams.
Monday is also the deadline for the Rays to act on the options for second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Yunel Escobar, center fielder David DeJesus and pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo.
Oviedo signed a minor league contract for 2013 with an option for 2014. He spent the year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
The Rays are expected to pick up the options for Zobrist ($7 million) and Escobar ($5 million). The Rays could decline to pick up the $6.5 million option for DeJesus, pay him a $1.5 million buyout and try to resign him to a more team-friendly contract.
Oviedo, who saved 92 games between 2009 and 2011 with Miami when he went by the name Leo Nunez, has a $2 million club option for 2014 and a $30,000 buyout. He could be the Rays’ closer next season if they do not sign Rodney.