UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willing to move and what a variety of deals would look like with the Rays, whether they involve closer Alex Colome, third baseman Evan Longoria, or now starter Chris Archer, or a combination from the three." Also that Cards exec John Mozeliak said their "work is not done" for the winter after adding OF Marcell Ozuna and RHP Luke Gregerson.
DEVELOPING: Rays officials headed back across I-4 this afternoon, leaving the winter meetings while working toward resolution of "advanced" trade talks that could include some of their biggest name players.
Most of the attention and speculation has been on on their talks with the Cardinals involving closer Alex Colome and potentially cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria plus RHP Chris Archer or RHP Jake Odorizzi. The Rays' return would likely include several advanced prospects, plus potentially OF Randal Grichuk.
And with the Cardinals completing a deal early Thursday to send OF Stephen Piscotty to Oakland, they could now be able to focus on consummating talks with the Rays.
Whether that leads to something happening, and sooner than later, is the tricky part.
Speaking about their trade talks in general, Rays senior VP Chaim Bloom said late morning that they were about at the same "advanced" point as Wednesday night.
"I think they're still in that same stage right now," he said. "We have had a lot of detailed conversations with a number of different clubs. … We're going to see in the near future if that leads to us consummating a deal."
Bloom suggested there was more in play than just the possible deal with the Cardinals. The Cubs, Mets, Mariners and Rockies (who have since made other moves) were all reported to be interested in Colome.
The Cardinals are one of only a limited number of teams that could be a match for Longoria, and that part of the discussion could be on hold as they are also reportedly one of the teams talking to the Orioles about Manny Machado.
"One of the things about this week, and I think it's always this way to some degree but this year more so, it's a fortunate position to be in – we have a number of players that teams like," Bloom said. "And that expands the amount of possibilities that pop up. So there's not necessarily one specific thing that we're zeroed in on, there's a number of different possibilities that we're trying to weigh."
"There are different conversations that are kind of in different stages. With a lot of these I don't know, at some point, maybe a certain immediate moment in time it gets to the point where you need somebody to say yes. But in general I think a lot of these have evolved as just kind of a healthy back and forth, very active talking about different possibilities, just try to narrow it down through that conversation."