"James and Kyle played very large roles in our postseason run and are ready to help lead us back there in 2012," said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations. "Kelly was a significant asset defensively this year and played extremely well down the stretch, but in looking to bolster the catching position this winter, we felt it necessary to assess all of the options available to us."
Shields, 29, who is the senior member of the rotation, will make $7 million in 2012 after having his option picked up. The right-hander was named to his first All-Star team in 2011 en route to his best Major League season. Shields went 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA with 225 strikeouts, had 11 complete games and four shutouts. Had the Rays not exercised his option, they would have had to pay a $2 million buyout.
Farnsworth, 35, who stepped up to become the closer in 2011, will be paid $3.3 million in '12. The veteran right-hander had 25 saves in 31 opportunities while posting a 5-1 record with a 2.18 ERA. Farnsworth had a $650,000 buyout.
Shoppach, 31, will be paid a $300,000 buyout, which makes him a free agent. Tampa Bay held a $3.2 million option for the veteran catcher's services in 2012. Shoppach has expressed a desire to return, so there remains a chance that he could be re-signed as a free agent.
In addition to the decisions made on those three, the team has until Wednesday to exclusively negotiate with free agents Casey Kotchman, Johnny Damon, Joel Peralta and Jose Cruz. Each has said he would like to return to the Rays in 2012.
After Wednesday, each of the four can negotiate with other teams interested in signing them as free agents.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.