Rays officials will talk about some big deals at this week's winter meetings in Indianapolis and surely be rumored as involved in some even bigger ones.
But realistically, they say, they don't have to do much to improve a team they consider capable of competing with the Red Sox and World Series champion Yankees.
"We feel we're in a position, even in our division and even the way the Yankees rolled through everything, that we can be there at the end of the year," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said.
With a payroll in the low $60 million range and the core of their team that finished a disappointing 84-78 last season intact, the Rays will look to bolster their bullpen with small parts ("there's no $7 million closer showing up," Sternberg said), clarify their catching situation, and improve their depth — moves executive vice president Andrew Friedman termed "more on the periphery."
They'll talk about a potential swap of disappointing DH Pat Burrell for disruptive Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley and at least listen if teams ask about All-Stars Carl Crawford or Carlos Peña. But, Sternberg said, "anything we're going to do is going to be additive for this year."
For a closer look, see 2C