It started with officially trading for closer Rafael Soriano on Friday, then signing him to a $7.25 million deal. It continued with re-signing Lance Cormier and Randy Choate before Saturday night's non-tender deadline, then ensued with the news Sunday that the Rays have locked up right-hander Grant Balfour for next season, too.
With the Soriano signing, Tampa Bay's payroll for next season could exceed $70 million, but that didn't stop the club from avoiding arbitration with yet another player, agreeing on a $2.05 million contract with Balfour, who made $1.4 million in '09.
That brings the Rays' list of arbitration-eligible players to five -- catcher Kelly Shoppach, right-hander Matt Garza, lefty J.P. Howell, center fielder B.J. Upton and shortstop Jason Bartlett.
The Australian-born Balfour is coming off a down year this past season, when he went 5-4 with a 4.81 ERA in 73 relief appearances, striking out 69 and walking 33 in 67 1/3 innings.
In his first full season with the Rays in '08, Balfour notched a slim 1.54 ERA in 51 games. For his six-year career, the 31-year-old sports a 4.20 ERA and eight saves -- four each coming the previous two seasons in Tampa Bay.
On Saturday, the Rays signed Cormier for $1.2 million and Choate for $700,000.
The sidearm-throwing Choate appeared in 61 games out of the bullpen for the Rays, going 1-0 and posting a 3.47 ERA while opposing left-handed batters hit just .141 against him. Recently, the Rays let southpaw Brian Shouse hit free agency, so the 34-year-old Choate looks to be their primary lefty specialist for next season.
Cormier, 29, went 3-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 53 relief appearances while leading Rays relievers in innings with 77 1/3. In six seasons in the big leagues, Cormier is 20-24 with a 5.08 ERA.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.