JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
David Price has been the primary subject of trade speculation at the winter meetings, with the Mariners and Dodgers among the teams considered most interested.
As most of baseball seems to be talking about him, ace LHP David Price told the Tampa Bay Times today he is preparing to be traded and would be "open-minded" to signing an extension with a new team depending on the situation.
Price has been the primary subject of trade speculation at the winter meetings, with the Mariners and Dodgers among the teams considered most interested. Price said at the end of the Rays season he expected to be traded, and given all that has been reported and rumored here he has no reason - and certainly no assurances from the Rays - to think otherwise now.
"It's something I've kind of prepared myself for,'' Price said via text message. "I've seen my teammates go through it and watched how they handled it. Just waiting to see what is going to happen.''
Price has two years until he becomes eligible for free agency, but given the high price the Rays will demand, any team acquiring him likely will want to at least try to sign him long term. That could be part of the deal, though the Rays don't have to - and may not want to - grant a team permission to negotiate. …Full Story
Bo McKinnis, agent for Rays ace David Price, told Fox Sports he would consider signing an extension with some teams but not the Mariners, who are among those rumored to be interested in trading for him. That position may or may not influence the Mariners thinking. And the Rays may not grant any team a window to negotiate anyway.Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
The Rays seem to be waiting on free agent 1B James Loney - who played well for them last season - to decide if he wants to return at their price
Today is third and final full day of the winter meetings, and the day most likely for significant action, as teams have had a couple days to talk and most are heading home Thursday afternoon.
For the Rays, it could be the day they finally see enough movement on the first base market to make a move.
They seem to be waiting on free agent 1B James Loney - who played well for them last season - to decide if he wants to return at their price. The Pirates, who have been interested in Loney, and the Brewers, who seem more likely to re-sign Corey Hart, are the other teams looking for a front line 1B.
The Rays have a number of options, a half dozen or so, and don't necessarily see much difference in the group, so cost - in terms of salary and/or acquisition cost - may be the deciding factor.
And as they wait for Loney to decide, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them connected, or re-connected, to a number of the other options, just to keep Loney aware they won't wait forever.
Loney is reportedly seeking a three-year deal for $27- to $30-million. The Rays aren't going to pay that much, but they could do a multiyear deal for a lesser amount. …Full Story
UPDATE, 3:11: Scratch 1B Mark Trumbo off the list of potential Rays 1B targets as there are now reports a deal is done to send him from the Angels to the Diamondbacks. Per the Arizona Republic, Trumbo and two players to be named go to Arizona, Adam Eaton goes to the White Sox and Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs to the Angels.
UPDATE, 3 p.m.: It's been a relatively quiet day thus far around the Swan and Dolphin hotels, with the formal introduction of Curtis Granderson by the Mets the only official act though rumors of a potential three-way trade that would send 1B Mark Trumbo to the D'backs and young pitching to the Angels, with the White Sox also involved.
DEVELOPING: Rays ace LHP David Price continues to be a popular topic of discussion as the top player available in trade and, not surprisingly, reports are starting to circulating of other top pitchers potentialy going on the market.
Names that are popping up in speculation if not actual conversation include Cleveland's Justin Masterson and Philadelphia's Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and there likely will be others. …Full Story
UPDATE, 11:17: Free-agent RHP Jamey Wright is deciding between staying with the Rays and returning to the Dodgers, for whom he pitched in 2012, Fox Sports reported.
DEVELOPING: Rays manager Joe Maddon drew a large crowd for his Monday media session at the winter meetings, where a potential trade of ace David Price was, of course, a popular topic:
* Maddon said if Price were to be traded the word that comes to mind is "devastating" but also how they have to do business. (see more below)
* He indicated he felt it would be more likely to happen during the winter than during the season.
* Jake Odorizzi would be the leading candidate to take the open spot in the rotation, though its also possible the Rays would explore adding a mid-tier veteran starter (or they could get one back in a trade).
* Alex Cobb would be the likely candidate to take over as the leader of the staff.
* Maddon talked to free agent 1B James Loney just before Thanksgiving and said they had a nice talk (including Maddon's comments about Loney deserving the Gold Glove) but didn't get a sense if Loney is likely to return. …Full Story
Tampa native Tony La Russa was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today by the expansion era committee.
"A stunner," La Russa said.
Two other longtime managers were also elected - Bobby Cox and Joe Torre.Full Story
The winter meeting get underway officially this morning, and the first act of business is the annoucement of results of the Hall of Fame voting by the expansion era committee.
Tampa native Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox form a trio of impressive candidates after their impressive managerial careers.
Rays officials arrived Sunday night, and are sure to be popular targets for conversation, as ace LHP David Price is considered the most prized player in the game available in trade.
The Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Mariners and Rangers are considered the teams most likely to be interested and capable of making a deal, in terms of having the talent the Rays would want back and the money to pay Price. The Padres, Pirates, Braves and Cubs are also possibilities.
As they decide whether to trade Price, the Rays are looking for a first baseman. They would like to have free agent James Loney back, but with reports he is seeking a theee-year deal for $27- to 30-million, they have to consider other options. …Full Story
Rays reliever Brandon Gomes and INF/OF Sean Rodriguez will visit the VETSports Wounded Warriors Softball Series on Sunday at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. Gomes and Rodriguez will meet with the participating teams at around 1 p.m.
After stunning the baseball world Friday by luring All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano out of New York with a $240-million, 10-year offer, the Mariners may be next targeting Rays ace David Price.
As impressive as the addition of Cano will be, the Mariners need more to be become competitive again, and general manager Jack Zduriencik, in the last year of his contract, has indicated a willingness to make further bold moves.
Price would be a prime target, and the Mariners are considered one of the teams that would have the requisite young talent to pry him from the Rays and the money to pay him.
Prized pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, a 21-year-old who made it from Double-A to Triple-A to the majors last year, likely would be the prized centerpiece of any package. Reports were already circulating Friday that a potential deal could also include displaced second baseman Nick Franklin, whom the Rays also admire, and/or first baseman Justin Smoak and prospects, but nothing is expected to happen before next week's winter meetings. …Full Story
The Rays made official their deal to sign RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, signing him for $1.5-million guaranteed, with up to another $1.4-million available in incentives.
Oviedo, known formerly as Leo Nunez, spent 2013 with the Rays recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery but didn't pitch in any games. He logged 92 saves with a 3.86 ERA during 2009-11 with the Marlins, then missed the first part of 2012 due to a suspension stemming from age/identity fraud and was injured while working back into shape in the minors.
"When we signed Juan Carlos last winter, we felt that when he returned to health he could play a key role in our bullpen in 2014,'' Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "Observing his work ethic throughout the rehab process and getting to know him as a person has strengthened that feeling, and we're excited to have the chance to see this through."
Oviedo became a free-agent when the Rays declined a $2-million option after the season, instead paying a $30,000 buyout. So in re-signing him for $1,5-million they saved $470,000.
Oviedo, just-acquired Heath Bell, returning LHP Jake McGee and veteran RHP Joel Peralta are all candidates for late-inning duty.
Former Rays OF Sam Fuld is receiving "lots of interest" since becoming a free agent on Monday night.
Fuld became a free agent when the Rays declined to tender him a contract. He was projected to make around $900,000 via arbitration.
Fuld has received calls from numerous teams. He and agent Jim Munsey are still in the process of collecting information then will start evaluating their options. No decision is imminent yet.
LHP Wesley Wright, the other player non-tendered by the Rays, agreed Wednesday night to a one-year deal with the Cubs for $1.425-million.
LHP Wesley Wright didn't stay unemployed for long after being non-tendered by the Rays on Monday, agreeing Wednesday night to a one-year, $1.425-million deal with the Cubs. The Rays said they would be open to possibly bringing Wright back later in the off-season, but there was immediate interest from several teams. He signed for close to what he was projected to make via arbitration had he stayed with the Rays.
Rays manager Joe Maddon had high praise for executive VP Andrew Friedman and staff in pulling off Tuesday's three-team trade to acquire reliever Heath Bell and catcher Ryan Hanigan for two minor-leaguers.
"Getting a late-inning, high-leverage, experienced reliever, like Heath, is necessary when it comes to getting to the playoffs, and advancing deeply,'' Maddon said via text message Wednesday.
"Then to have a starting catcher with Hanigan's ability and reputation to pull it all together makes planning with specific direction much easier and believable. Andrew and the boys had been working on this for a bit. Great job on their part!''Full Story
JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
James Loney had a solid 2013 overall for the Rays, hitting .299 with 13 homers, 75 RBIs and a .778 OPS, and playing his usual dazzling defense, being named a finalist for the Gold Glove award.
UPDATE, 3:20: Though Loney's new agents haven't been talking, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan provided some framework for what Loney may be looking for based on this tweet: "James Loney started offseason seeking a four-year, $40M deal. Belief is he's now seeking something in the three-year, $27-30M range."
UPDATE, 2:29: Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman was much less specific on the pursuit of Loney:
"It's difficult for us to get into specifics. We're obviously looking for a first baseman. We need to figure out what we're going to do there,'' he said on a pre-winter meetings conference call. "But it's very premature to kind of speculate from our standpoint as to which direction we're going to go. What he meant to us last year, and the way he fit, has been very well documented. I just don't have a really good feel right now for how things are going to evolve.''
DEVELOPING: The Rays still need a first baseman, and team president Matt Silverman said this morning they are "hopeful" of re-signing free agent James Loney, who is also of considerable interest to the Pirates. …Full Story
Our colleague Stephen Nohlgren wrote all about the new flex ticket packages being offered and why the Rays are doing so in Tuesday's paper.
The team put out official details today, and here is that release: …Full Story