Friedman: "wouldn't count on" trading a starting pitcher
There are likely to be a lot of speculation this offseason about the Rays trading from their surplus of starting pitchers to boost their offense. After all, with the emergence of LHP Matt Moore, RHP Alex Cobb to go along with a strong starting five, Tampa Bay certainly has a lot of depth.
But executive VP Andrew Friedman, as he headed for this week's GM meetings in Milwaukee, maintained his stance he's not in a hurry to ship off one of his starters.
“It’s something that I expect that we’ll get a lot of inquiries,” Friedman said. “It’s not something that we’re flippant about. We’re not sitting in our internal meetings and talking about how we have too much starting pitching. Obviously if someone puts something forward that’s compelling we owe it to everyone to talk through it. But I wouldn’t necessarily count on it.”
Friedman has said for years he's reluctant to sap the depth of the starting pitching - it is the lifeblood of the organization. The Rays did trade RHP Matt Garza to the Cubs after the 2010 season, but netted a plethora of quality players/prospects in that deal, including SS prospect Hak Ju Lee, as well as big-leaguers OFs Brandon Guyer and Sam Fuld.
*The Rays are looking to address first base, DH and the catcher position, as well as a couple arms in the bullpen.
*The Rays remain interested in talking with DH Johnny Damon and 1B Casey Kotchman, and potentially bringing them back: "They are very prominent in our discussions right now as we're going through things," Friedman said. "I expect that will continue."
*While C Kelly Shoppach's option was declined, the Rays could be interested in him again, depending on how the offseason goes as they try to address the catching position.
"We just have to figure out what we have to do with our catching tandem," Friedman said. "He did a lot of very good things for us this year. When you go into the free agent market or trade market, you don't know someone that comes with that. The fact we know Kelly, we know how he prepares, that matters."
-- JOE SMITH