Rays search for another bat not limited to 1B
With Luke Scott signed, executive VP Andrew Friedman said the Rays are perusing "a long list" of trade and free agent possibilities to find another hitter and are not limiting their search to first basemen.
"We're just looking for a bat,'' Friedman said. "We like to have optionality. We like to be as flexible as we can be. We don't want to pigeonhole ourselves into any one area if we can avoid it just because it expands the applicant pool. We're just going through a long list of names right now trying to figure out how we can line up on the best player that we can, when factoring in offense, fit with our offensive unit, defense, and the net result.''
As much as the Rays value defense, it would seem unlikely they would venture forth without a smooth-fielding first baseman, but Friedman said they could use Scott and others on the roster to cover first base if they find an attractive enough hitter.
"We obviously value defense a lot, but there's times where enough offense trips that line and makes it something that makes sense for the team, and so that's what we're going through and trying to figure out,'' Friedman said.
With Scott's signing and five arbitration cases pending, the Rays have more than $45-million commited to 15 players, Friedman said they would ideally fill the opening from "a value standpoint" but he didn't rule out adding more salary.
"It just gets to the economics of a free-agent deal and what you have to give up in a trade,'' Friedman said. "It's just like everything - we don't have that hard and fast number. We're probably beyond what we kind of thought we'd be, but that's the benefit of not working with a hard and fast number, and numerous years are intertwined in our decision-making process.''