Rays officials talked Friday with Alan Nero, the agent for Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura, and made some progress. There has been a substantial gap in terms of finances and contract structure, and they have only until Dec. 15 to work out a deal or Iwamura has to play in Japan next season. Despite the differences, both the Rays and Nero have expressed optimism they will be able to work something out.
The Rays continue to discuss possible trades of CF Rocco Baldelli, with the Braves among the most interested teams. While lefthander Chuck James would seem to be the type of pitcher the Rays are interested in, the Braves may be more likely to talk about righthander Kyle Davies and position playing prospects such as catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and shortstop Yunel Escobar.
The Rays are talking to several teams, including the Orioles and White Sox, about Baldelli. Some of the teams that have interest in Baldelli are involved in signing free agent pitchers, which would impact which young pitchers they would be willing to deal. That means it may take longer for a deal to be made - if the Rays really want to make it.