Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays focused on remaining competitive

 Andrew Friedman answers questions during a season wrap up press conference at Tropicana Field Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 in St. Petersburg, FL.


Andrew Friedman answers questions during a season wrap up press conference at Tropicana Field Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 in St. Petersburg, FL.

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There is still a lot the Rays don't know about their team for the upcoming season, starting with whether David Price will be on the mound for opening day and 32 more times after that.

But even as talks about trading the ace lefty and the pursuit of a first baseman continue at baseball's winter meetings, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Tuesday he is confident that in any form, they will remain competitive and in contention for a fifth playoff trip in seven years.

"Short of what we would do at first base, I think we have a chance to be really good," Friedman said. "Obviously, that's our goal."

Further, Friedman said there are no scenarios under discussion in which they break up the team enough to not be good.

"I can't imagine (that)," he said. "It's not at all what we're focused on. It's not what is driving us when we wake up every morning. Our goal is to, as we sit here in December as we talk about every year, is to play competitive games in September."

Resolution on Price is the primary question, and the speculation seemed quelled a bit Tuesday. The Angels and Diamondbacks made a three-way deal with the White Sox that likely dropped them from a list of potential contenders that includes the Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers and others. Price's camp didn't hear much, either.

But the Rays have other issues, starting with first base, where they would like to bring back free agent James Loney but are exploring additional options. Ike Davis (Mets), Mitch Moreland (Rangers), Logan Morrison (Marlins), Ike Davis and Lucas Duda (Mets) are among trade possibilities. Mark Trumbo is off the list after going from the Angels to the D'backs.

Friedman reported "a little bit" of progress Tuesday in that search, but he still didn't know if they would end up signing a free agent or making a trade.

"I think we're getting more clarity," he said. "I wouldn't characterize anything as imminent, but I think we're getting more information that is helpful in our decision-making process."

There will be other moves, filling out the bench and adding to the bullpen, and at least a possibility of trading Matt Joyce, but Friedman said he is comfortable with the current mix.

"We feel like we're in a good position to keep runs off the board, and if we're able to improve upon that the rest of the winter, all the better," he said. "From a run-scoring standpoint we need to figure out what we're going to do at first base but having (David) DeJesus all year, having Wil Myers for a full season, there's things in there we feel like will make us a better offensive team. But obviously we want to get better on that front as well."

Though principal owner Stuart Sternberg suggested a reduction in payroll was possible after finishing last in attendance, the Rays with Price's estimated $13 million salary, even without, seem likely to exceed last season's $62 million.

Though they don't have much to spend, they remain flexible in not setting a specific payroll number and adjusting accordingly, such as spending more on a veteran so they can keep a prospect, and vice versa.

"It's much more about filling out a roster within the limitations that we have, and to have some give and take within that is most helpful in terms of how we plan, and how we try to be opportunistic," Friedman said.

"I think if we had too many restrictions of every different facet of how you acquire players, it becomes really restricting and not as feasible to be able to react quickly to different things that come up, which happens a lot."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Bullpen options

Jamey Wright, rehabbing Jordan Norberto being eyed by Rays. 3C

Rays focused on remaining competitive 12/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    Corey Dickerson is doing everything he can to garner All-Star votes heading into tonight's voting cutoff, going into play Wednesday leading the AL with 101 hits and rapping two more his first two times up, and scoring two more runs.