Another ROI (reliever of interest): Kelvim Escobar
UPDATE, 3:46: Rays interest has been confirmed, and they will have a scout in Venezuela watching Escobar throw on Friday.
Unrelated, but former Rays LHP Casey Fossum signed a one-year, $600,000 deal to play in Japan for Hanshin.
DEVELOPING: It makes sense that the Rays would have interest in RHP Kelvim Escobar (high reward, coming off injury, history with Joe Maddon) and Escobar confirmed it, though he also said he has a minor-league offer pending from the Mets.
In comments made to Venezuelan journalist Efrain Zavarce and relayed by ESPN's Jorge Arangure, Escobar sounded equally interested in both teams:
On the Rays: "Tampa would be a good place.They have a need for relief pitching. Last year they lost several games because of the bullpen. Now with Rafael Soriano and possibly me, Tampa could be better."
On the Mets: "I love New York,and that's why I'd love to pitch for the Mets. Plus, they have Johan (Santana), Fransisco, and now Henry Blanco."
Escobar saved 38 games for the Jays in 2002, then spent most of the next five seasons as a starter. He has pitched in only one big-league game since 2007, a June 6 start for the Angels. He told Zavarce he will pitch only in relief to avoid taxing his shoulder.
He will pitch Friday for Lara in the Venezuelan winter league on Friday, and that could be a telling outing in terms of interest.