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Live from Nashville, Tuesday morning report



UPDATE, 10:42: Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, who has a son who attends college nearby, is here to check out the winter meetings scene.

BREAKING: The Rays didn't have any overnight surprises this time, as they did Monday morning with the deal to add 1B James Loney.

From the sound of things, both from Rays officials and scouts with other teams, they continue to look at and evaluate a number of trade proposals and ideas, most of which seem to involved their surplus of starting pitchers, but not all.

The possibilty of trading a starter is something manager Joe Maddon said Monday he has "come to grips" with, though wouldn't necessarily like.

Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman has declined to handicap their chances for a deal. There has been a growing sense among scouts and the media, such as's Jon Heyman, that the Rays are more likely to make a deal.

One of the more interesting things to come last night was word of their interest in now-Marlins SS Yunel Escobar, he of the recent eye-black controversy. That interest, as well as some reported in Dodgers SS Dee Gordon, raises a bigger question, in that how much do the Rays really feel comfortable with Ben Zobrist as their every day shortstop.

They say they are, and in at least some scenarios they are considering, would go ahead with that plan. Having a switch-hitting shortstop with the potential for 20 homers is certainly appealing and, in theory, would give the Rays a better chance to improve their offense by adding an impac bat from a large number of available outfielders. Adding a true shortstop would likely make their defense better but not improve their offense as much.

Among other things to watch, the Mets continue to talk about trading RHP R.A. Dickey, top free agents RHP Zack Greinke and OF Josh Hamilton are the topic of much discussion, and the Orioles are also looking to trade for a power DH/1B bat.






[Last modified: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 10:43am]


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