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Winter meetings update: It is first (base) Wednesday?

The Rays seem to be waiting on free agent 1B James Loney - who played well for them last season - to decide if he wants to return at their price

DIRK SHADD | Times

The Rays seem to be waiting on free agent 1B James Loney - who played well for them last season - to decide if he wants to return at their price

11

December

Today is third and final full day of the winter meetings, and the day most likely for significant action, as teams have had a couple days to talk and most are heading home Thursday afternoon.

For the Rays, it could be the day they finally see enough movement on the first base market to make a move.

They seem to be waiting on free agent 1B James Loney - who played well for them last season - to decide if he wants to return at their price. The Pirates, who have been interested in Loney, and the Brewers, who seem more likely to re-sign Corey Hart, are the other teams looking for a front line 1B.

The Rays have a number of options, a half dozen or so, and don't necessarily see much difference in the group, so cost - in terms of salary and/or acquisition cost - may be the deciding factor.

And as they wait for Loney to decide, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them connected, or re-connected, to a number of the other options, just to keep Loney aware they won't wait forever.

Loney is reportedly seeking a three-year deal for $27- to $30-million. The Rays aren't going to pay that much, but they could do a multiyear deal for a lesser amount.

Other free agent options are limited, especially since the Rays would prefer a lefthanded hitter, though they would have some interest in Hart if he doesn't go back to Milwaukee, and maybe Kevin Youkilis.

The trade market is likely to be a more workable route, with candidates including Ike Davis and Lucas Duda (Mets), Mitch Moreland (Rangers), Logan Morrison (Marlins).

There wasn't much chatter on the David Price trade front on Tuesday, as several teams expected to be strong contenders either made other moves (Angels, D'backs) or said they had no plans to deal for a starter (Dodgers, Rangers).

That leaves the Mariners as the most rumored candidate, though other teams could emerge. The Braves would seem to be among those that could.

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:34am]

    

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