Rays talking with Carter, but remaining patient in pursuit of bat
We've written a number of times that Chris Carter is among a list of right-handed bats the Rays are considering for a spot on their roster, but they are taking their time in the process, gambling that the glut of options will result in a bargain rather than a missed opportunity.
As recently as Tuesday night, Carter agent Dave Stewart told the Times they were "not close to anything" with the Rays.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal also checked in on the status of talks with the Rays, and Stewart told him, "We've had enough conversations - I know what they're thinking. We just haven't advanced in that direction yet."
Rosenthal concluded in his column that "The Rays appear to be Carter's best major-league possibility, according to Stewart and major-league sources.''
But Rosenthal also wrote of another option, whether legitimate or a negotiating ploy, in which Stewart said they would consider offers from Japan for Carter, who shared the NL lead with 41 homers for Milwaukee but was nontendered, rather than be paid about $8-million via arbitration.
"I think at some point we have to make it a serious consideration," Stewart said. "It's getting late there, too. Those teams are filling their spaces, too."
Carter, who played for $2.5 million last year following a non-tender by Houston after the 2015 season, also led the NL with 206 strikeouts, hitting .222 but posting an .821 OPS.
Rosenthal mentions the Rangers as another option for Carter, but points out they are likely to end up with Mike Napoli, whom the Rays have checked in on but don't seem likely to be willing to provide the money and multiple years he wants.
Besides Carter and Napoli, other free-agent righthanded hitters the Rays have shown some interest in include Billy Butler and Mark Reynolds. Trade options include C.J. Cron (Angels) and Jurickson Profar (Rangers).
Lefthanded options among first baseman include Pedro Alvarez, Adam Lind, Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard and Logan Morrison, who was with the Rays last season.
Another albeit unlikely option is Matt Wieters, the switch-hitting catcher from the Orioles who could also be used at first base and DH.
Also Tuesday, the chance for a reunion with former Rays LHP J.P. Howell was elimnated when he signed with Toronto.