Live from Nashville, day four ...
AFTERNOON UPDATE: With no deals in sight, Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman was headed home on a mid-afternoon flight with plans to continue discussions in their search for a left-handed hitting OF.
The Rays took RHP Tim Lahey with the first pick of the Rule 5 draft and traded him in a pre-arranged deal to the Cubs for about $150,000 - which is a nice $100,000 profit given the $50,000 drafting fee.
They lost one player, RHP Evan Meek, who was taken with the second pick by Pittsburgh. Meek had some good stuff, but the Rays obviously didn't think enough of his potential to include him on the 40-man roster.
In the Triple-A portion of the draft, they made three picks: OF Rashad Eldridge (from Minnesota), RHP Julio Puentes (from Houston) and RHP Jose Mejias (from the Mets).
Suitcases are piling up in the vast lobbies of the Opryland village as the meetings are headed toward conclusion following this morning's Rule 5 draft.
Though Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, Andruw Jones (agreed to terms with Dodgers late Wednesday) and, don't forget, Elijah Dukes changed teams this week, there is a sense of disappointment over the lack of deals.
There has been plenty of talk, though, and among the more interesting chatter was the Mets emerging as strong candidates to acquire Johan Santana and the Orioles making serious efforts to blow up their unsuccessful team and start a much needed rebuilding.
From the Rays standpoint, there's been continued chatter over their efforts to land a left-handed hitting outfielder. At one point, there was buzz they were close to a trade (Houston's Luke Scott?), then that they could make a play for a younger, better player (Los Angeles' Andre Ethier?) and then that they were close to something with a free agent (Cliff Floyd?).
Agent Scott Boras made it sound like there hadn't been much in the way of talks with the Rays about a long-term contract for Carlos Pena, who is eligible for arbitration and has interest in a long-term deal, making it much more likely they'll work out a one-year deal.
The Rays have Pena for next season (and the year after) so the question is whether he goes through arbitration, signs a one-year contract to avoid the process or does a long-term deal. Boras' hunch? "He'll be with them next season.''