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Rays' Maddon puts deal chances at 50-50

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — OF Xavier Nady and lefty reliever Damaso Marte won't be coming to help the Rays' bid to reach the postseason. Instead, they may make it more difficult for the Rays. The two were traded Friday from the Pirates to the Yankees.

Speaking before the deal became public, Rays manager Joe Maddon said it was "50-50 at best" the Rays would make a trade before Thursday's 4 p.m. nonwaiver deadline, with the keys remaining how much better they think any acquisition would make them and how much it would cost in return.

"There are people out there that can make us better, no question. Can we get them? I don't know," Maddon said.

"I'm not like overtly confident that something's going to happen, so I'd have to say it's 50-50 at best that it would happen. I can't sit here and tell you that 'This sounds really good, and I think it's going to happen any day now.' … I don't get that."

Executive vice president Andrew Friedman said later Friday: "We will continue to be very active in conversations over the next six days, and it remains to be seen whether something will line up or not."

Nady and Cleveland's Casey Blake had been considered prime targets for the Rays as right-handed hitters who could platoon in rightfield, essentially upgrading the position held by Jonny Gomes. Marte was among several experienced late-inning relievers, including Colorado's Brian Fuentes, who could bolster their bullpen.

Maddon said later that Nady and Marte are "two really good players" and that the Yankees "made a nice trade; they made themselves better.''

Most of the speculation about the Rays involves them trading from their deep pool of prospects. Maddon suggested that though an elite few are off-limits, the Rays are open to discussing others "without having to mortgage the entire future," as well as current big-leaguers.

As much as Maddon has maintained faith that the hitters they have can produce, and expressed concern about disrupting the team's chemistry, he said Friday that he was open to a deal.

"Obviously, we'd like to be able to hit a little bit better right now," he said. "Do I think the ingredients are here? Yes. I think we have among this group several people that really haven't hit to their level yet. If they were to get hot, then we would be fine, and if they weren't, obviously it could be difficult, so we're still trying to evaluate all that.

"You're not worried about hurting anybody's feelings right now. This is a legitimate opportunity that we're in, and it's a chance to do something that the word 'special' doesn't even come close to describing."

TV AND MUSIC: After having only two nationally broadcast games on Fox in their first 10 seasons, the Rays will have two on consecutive Saturdays. The game Aug. 23 at Chicago had already been selected, and the home game Aug. 30 against Baltimore was added Friday, requiring the game time to be moved up to 3:55 p.m. The Rays have also added a postgame concert for that date, featuring the Bradenton alternative pop-rock band We the Kings.

MISCELLANY: OF Rocco Baldelli, who clocked an impressive 4.19 seconds to first base Thursday for Double-A Montgomery, went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer as the DH on Friday and is slated to take another big step in his comeback today, playing five innings in the outfield. … RHP Troy Percival logged his 21st save, and 345th overall, two behind Randy Myers for eighth all time. … 3B Evan Longoria has a team-high 61 RBIs. … An MLB committee overruled Rays official scorer Bill Mathews' decision in the July 1 game, awarding Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury a single while taking an error away from LHP J.P. Howell.

Rays' Maddon puts deal chances at 50-50 07/25/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 27, 2008 9:16pm]
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