Tampa Bay Rays officials will head to next week's winter meetings at Disney eager to get started making moves and willing to consider just about anything – and trading anybody – that they feel makes sense.
"We have to be open," GM Erik Neander said at a pre-meetings media session at the Trop Thursday. "We have to be considering anything and everything. A lot of that depends on where there's interest and what we believe is in the best interest of our club."
With very little off-season activity thus far throughout the industry – which many attribute to the Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton situations – Neander and senior VP Chaim Bloom said they are hoping to get down to business soon, trying to improve their team that won 80 games season and reduce payroll, which they acknowledge is an "incredibly challenging" task.
Whether that includes trading big-name players such as 3B Evan Longoria, closer Alex Colome, starters Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi and others may depend on what they hear from other teams (with the Cardinals among those already expressing interest), and whether they decide to take a step back and rebuild the roster rather than just make a few moves and fill holes, which already seem glaring at first base and in the bullpen.
"We're going to keep as open of a mind as possible," Neander said. "I think we have a lot of different plans laid out that depending on kind of the way the market unfolds and how things progress will dictate our path."
* Though they didn't get to the second round in pursuit of Ohtani, Bloom said they were "really proud overall" of their initial presentation to the Japanese two-way sensation.
* INFs Matt Duffy, who missed all of last season due to left heel issues, and Brad Miller, who had October core muscle repair surgery, are expected to be fully healthy at the start of spring training.
* The Rays have interest in some of the former Braves international signees who recently were made free agents by MLB.