As baseball's general managers gather in Orlando for their annual meetings and other activities, baseball writers have to have something to do, too. And one of the more creative rumors spinning around the Internet on Monday involves the Rays and Scott Kazmir.
The idea - suggested by New York Post writer Joel Sherman, and headlined SCOTT-STOVE LEAGUE - is that if trade offers for Twins pitcher Johan Santana turn out to be excessive, the Rays would consider dealing Kazmir for a similar package.
The basic premise isn't as outlandish as it might seem - the Rays' style is to listen to all offers and explore all possibilities, and if a team wanted to get crazy, they would have to listen. For example, if the Mets (now, wouldn't that be ironic ... ) missed out on Santana and wanted to offer one of their young star players, Jose Reyes or David Wright, and more for Kazmir, the Rays would have to listen.
But there is also the typical assumption that because Kazmir is eligible for arbitration, he will soon be too expensive for the Rays. Based on everything new owner Stuart Sternberg has said, that should not be an issue, especially the way he and his top execs have stressed the importance of keeping their young core together.
Sherman throws out another interesting idea, that the Rays could pursue Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, a potential future star, and are willing to talk about all position players except B.J Upton. Again, the premise isn't incorrect, that in THE RIGHT DEAL they would be willing to move Carl Crawford or Delmon Young.
There is also some Rays chatter in Minnesota, suggesting the Rays would deal Crawford or (on a lesser level) Rocco Baldelli for young pitching. Given that they are about to lose Torii Hunter and both Baldelli and Crawford have fixed salaries for the next few seasons, that seems a reasonable conversation to have.