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Rays still hoping to re-sign Loney

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays' search for a first baseman still seems focused on getting free agent James Loney to return, manager Joe Maddon making a personal pitch with a recent phone call.

"He was very non-committal in his conversation," Maddon said. "He was very nice, very cordial, very good. But I think he's in a position right now to probably go after the best contract he's ever going to get. So do I blame him? No. Do I want him back? Yes."

With reports Loney is seeking a three-year, $27 million to $30 million deal, the Rays may be trying to wait him out, knowing there has been little movement among other options on the trade and free-agent market. He played for $2 million in 2013.

Miami seems likely to move Logan Morrison — with further chatter Monday about the Marlins' reported interest in Sean Rodriguez — and the Mets say they'd like to deal either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda soon.

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said after a Monday of talks — more with other teams than agents — that nothing was imminent on filling their primary hole. He said they would prefer a left-handed hitter.

"We have X number of viable candidates, so it's about lining it up and figuring out what the percentage changes are of getting our first target, our second and working down it," Friedman said. "Just trying to make sure when the music stops that we have a chair and that we're happy with the outcome. … How we end up doing that, I don't know right now."

The Rays also are planning to trade C Jose Lobaton, and may be looking to deal OF Matt Joyce, though that wouldn't do much for their quest to add left-handed power.

RHP Jamey Wright is deciding between returning to the Rays or signing with the Dodgers, according to Fox Sports.

RAYS REPORT: Monday was the anniversary of the Wil Myers trade, with agent Jeff Berry, co-head of CAA Baseball, saying it has been "a wonderful year" but there has been no talk of a long-term contract. … Chris Westmoreland, who had been the home clubhouse/equipment manager, will take over travel director duties, with assistant Jose Fernandez getting a larger clubhouse role. …Principal owner Stuart Sternberg arrived. … Though there are thousands of baseball people at the Dolphin and Swan hotels, Rays TV broadcaster Brian Anderson showed up for a vacation "totally unaware" the meetings were taking place.

CALLING IT QUITS: Two-time Cy Young RHP Roy Halladay, 36, announced his retirement, citing his desire to avoid back surgery and to spend more time with his family. Halladay, who logged 203 wins, signed a one-day contract to retire with the Blue Jays. "It was a tremendous run," Halladay said, fighting back tears. "Something I'll never forget."

CATCHING ON: The Marlins officially introduced new C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who left the Red Sox for a three-year, $21 million deal to play near his West Palm Beach hometown. "Crazy offseason," he said. "There were some nights where I wasn't happy. There were some nights where I was really happy. But it was an experience, a lot of fun. … And this was a perfect fit."

Rays still hoping to re-sign Loney 12/09/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 9, 2013 11:50pm]

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