Friedman confident of adding 2 bats; Damon waiting
Executive VP Andrew Friedman was involved in some intense negotiations on Saturday - trying to spread an even layer of mulch as part of the Rays' project to build a playground at the Layla's House children center in Tampa.
The community appearance was a break from his months-long work to improve his team's offense and fill holes at first base and DH. While a number of potential candidates have ended up elsewhere, Friedman has yet to find the right deals - in terms of talent and cost - but remains confident he will be successful.
"We're having a lot of conversations on both the trade front and also with free agents,'' he said. "I'm confident that we're going to end up with two hitters that will complement our existing offense and fit in very well. It's very difficult to handicap the timing but I wouldn't be surprised if something happened in the next couple weeks.''
Friedman maintained his off-season long position that both DH Johnny Damon and 1B Casey Kotchman are candidates to return. But realistically if the Rays are going to improve they'd have to upgrade at at least one of those positions, so at most only one would return. And his comment that the new hitters would complement their existing offense could be an indication they don't plan to trade any of their current position players, such as B.J. Upton.
Damon told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday he hadn't heard much from the Rays, but was still hopeful of returning. "You know it,'' he texted. In the meantime, he said he is talks with at least one other team.
And there is one less candidate - or at least potential candidate - as Jorge Posada has reportedly decided to retire rather than play for another team besides the Yankees.