Winter meetings update: Hold off on that Bartlett-Reimold talk
Those Jason Bartlett for Nolan Reimold rumors that came out of Baltimore earlier today were apparently well over-blown.
Rays exec VP Andrew Friedman just said that no deals are immiment and most of the talks the Rays have had have been "bullpen-centric.''
That makes sense for two reasons, as a) bullpen help is a bigger need and harder to find as the free agent prices are high for pitchers and the market is flooded with hitters, and b) Reimold isn't a good fit for the Rays, as he is a) not a good defensive player and b) has had injury problems which makes him something of a risk and c) has problems with right-handed pitching.
"We've had conversations on a lot of different fronts, but I wouldn't characterize anything as imminent,'' Friedman said. "But there are some possibilities that we're excited about and feel like potentially address an area of weakness for us.''
Asked if that could be several areas, such as an outfielder AND a reliever, Friedman said no, that "it has been more bullpen-centric.''
Overall, Friedman said he remained confident that the Rays would make a deal, either a trade or a free agent signing, before the meetings end on Thursday.
And he continued to talk about the different paths the Rays could go down and how they have to decide which first move to make to set things in motion.
And while Friedman didn't - per his usual policy - acknowledge they were talking specificially about Bartlett, he did follow up an answer about Reid Brignac's readiness to take over at shortstop by saying: "There are some areas on our roster where we have some depth and there are other obvious areas where we're weaker. And I think almost any small revenue team has to look at deals where you potentially deal from a strength to address a weakness, and that it's difficult as a small-revenue team to hoard depth and address your weaknesses. Obviously that's optimal, it's just not always the easiest thing to do.''
* the Rays are talking to Dave Eiland - the Zephyrhills High product, former Rays pitcher and Yankees pitching coach - about a job, either in the minor leagues or as a front office special assistant. "I have a lot of respect for him from afar,'' Friedman said.
* Friedman confirmed the Rays have offers out to "a few" free agent relievers.
* The Cubs appear to be stepping up their pursuit of Rays free-agent 1B Carlos Pena, who is seeking a 2-3 year deal according to ESPN.