The Tampa Bay Rays declined their option on reliever Dan Wheeler today. The Rays had a $4 million option on Wheeler, and a $1 million buyout which they will exercise. The Rays say they are still interested in him for 2011, and he has not ruled out ruling out returning to the Rays.
I found this surprising as Wheeler's $4 million is not out of line with other reliever's salaries after I reviewed a sample of others. Unless you're an elite closer (e.g. Mo, Pap, Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan, Rafael Soriano, Billy Wagner, Brian Wilson), $4 million is not a bad amount for a middle reliever with numbers like Wheeler's- 2010: 3.35 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, Career: 3.84 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
Tampa Bay will be looking to cut expenses. It doesn't look good for the Rays for the near future. Could Wheeler end up in Boston? He is from Rhode Island. I don't know if he has permanently relocated to Florida as did Rocco Baldelli, also from Rhode Island, but he looks good at first glance.
The bullpen will be one area that Theo will be looking to rebuild. Could Dan Wheeler be an addition to the Red Sox bullpen? (It's not as if he was a Yankee.)