Friedman: Off-season upgrades "a dream scenario"
The Rays looked at "endless" scenarios of how to improve their team this off-season, and to get to this point, having bolstered the offense and improved the depth of the bullpen without diminishing their defense or disturbing their stash of starting pitching exceeded even their expectations.
"If you had told me then where we stand now with upgrading where we did and also maintaining our depth in the meantime, I would have said that that was a dream scenario,'' executive vice president Andrew Friedman said on Thursday's Countdown to Opening Day radio show on 620-WDAE.
"We still have a lot of work to do in terms of this division and this league, but as far within the scope of what we can do, this off-season worked out very well in our estimation.’’
Among other topics, Friedman said:
* They targeted a few catchers they felt would have fit in well but those deals didn't work out and while they are "a little uncomfortable” pairing veteran Jose Molina with an inexperienced partner, either Jose Lobaton or Robinson Chirinos, they feel they will be better overall behind the plate in 2012 than 2011.
* He expects manager Joe Maddon to remain with the team for a long time. (The Times reported previously that a three-year extension is being finalized and is expected to be announced before the start of spring training.)
* He feels the bullpen has "a lot more depth" than last year, and could see one-two "really good arms" being sent to AAA.
* The competition between shortstop candidates Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez has already started in winter workouts and is "going to be a lot of fun to watch.''