Winter wonders ...
Rays officials arrived mid-day Monday at the Disney Dolphin resort and immediately delved into meetings that lasted much of the day and night. First internally, then with representatives of other teams and agents representing free agents.
Their primary goal is to improve their bullpen, and Friedman said there are options via trades and with free agents. Possibilities include Russ Springer, David Riske and Octavio Dotel, though the Rays aren't going to commit a lot of money or sign a veteran for very long.
* Friedman said they are also discovering “a tremendous amount of interest” in their young players. Outfielders Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford - whose modest long-term contracts make them even more attractive - are primary topics of conversation, but trade talks may also include B.J. Upton (whom the Marlins have asked about) and Jorge Cantu.
* Talks with Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura are going to continue this week, but according to agent Alan Nero they are nowhere close to a deal, with significant gaps in both dollars and structure. Iwamura is scheduled to take a physical on Tuesday and return to Japan on Wednesday, most likely without being signed. The Rays have until Dec. 15 to sign him.
* The plan to shift the three-game May 15-17 series against Texas to the Disney complex is close to getting the necessary approvals but won't be made official this week.