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Tampa Bay Rays continuing trade talks, won't force anything

ST. PETERSBURG — What Rays officials are not saying is what you really want to know, which is whether they will make a trade by Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline for nonwaiver deals.

What executive VP Andrew Friedman did say Monday is much of what you may have already read or heard, which is that they are working very hard at it, are open to various possibilities, are looking to add an impact player rather than make a slight upgrade and there aren't many candidates currently available.

"I look at it that we have a very good team right now, and if we can find a deal that makes us better and does so by using some of our depth, great," Friedman said. "But I guess the challenge of navigating this week is to not make a move for the sake of making a move; doing something that fits us, that will have an impact on us and significantly improve our chances."

What he said that was kind of interesting, if not new, is that they are looking at players who would be free agents after the season as well as some they would control for future seasons.

"Obviously, it just gets into the type of player, what we're giving up, all those things factor in," Friedman said. "But we're open-minded to either."

What Friedman doesn't do is discuss specific players, actually boasting of the Rays' preference to stay under the radar and out of the headlines.

Many names have been connected with them, from big-time, big-money sluggers Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder on down. Three to keep in mind that may be more applicable are Orioles OF/DH/1B Luke Scott, Phillies OF Jayson Werth and Nationals OF Josh Willingham.

As for what the Rays would give up, they would seem more likely to prefer to deal from their rich pool of prospects at the lower level of the minors than to give up their top two advanced prospects, RHP Jeremy Hellickson and OF Desmond Jennings, or any of the players on their current squad, such as RHP Wade Davis or CF B.J. Upton.

Manager Joe Maddon said Friedman "has some interesting things out there" and suggested at least one was a three-team deal.

MORE TRADE TALK: Maddon said he hasn't sensed the trade situation being much of a distraction for the current squad, as much because they've played well as because few of their names have been bandied about.

But LF Carl Crawford — relieved his name hasn't been mentioned — said he's open to the idea of making an acquisition. "I don't think we're about to turn down help," he said. "Everybody needs help. But we have a good team here. We feel like we can do it either way, but a little extra help never hurt anybody."

GOLDEN TOUCH: Maddon has raved about the defense Sean Rodriguez has played at second and considers Reid Brignac nearly as good, and Ben Zobrist, too.

"I'm here to tell you I've often said this year that I think Sean is possibly the best second baseman I've seen all year in this league, and I'm not going to back off on that, I believe that," Maddon said. "Our other guy is right behind him, and if you put Zorilla out there there's not a whole big dropoff there. … We have had nothing but great second base play this year."

Good enough, Maddon said, to be considered best in the league even though Gold Gloves aren't team awards.

"The Gold Glove to me a lot of times is an offensive award, so with that I can talk all I want about it," Maddon said. "But I'm telling you, if you think about it, (Robinson) Cano plays a good second base in New York and he's there every day, (Boston's Dustin) Pedroia's good, but on a night-by-night basis, nobody exceeds our play at second base."

MISCELLANY: Tigers manager Jim Leyland was ejected in the third inning for apparently spraying umpire Marty Foster during an argument. … LHP David Price was working on his pickoff moves before batting practice. … The Tigers were the lone team the Rays hadn't played. … Class A Charlotte, with Rocco Baldelli on the roster, opens a four-game series tonight at Tampa.

Tampa Bay Rays continuing trade talks, won't force anything 07/26/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 11:15am]
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