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Shortstop's departure from San Francisco Giants might improve Tampa Bay Rays' chances of trading Jason Bartlett

Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett, who is due to make more than $5 million, could be an attractive trade target to several teams.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett, who is due to make more than $5 million, could be an attractive trade target to several teams.

ST. PETERSBURG — The chances of the Rays trading Jason Bartlett might have increased with Juan Uribe leaving the Giants for the Dodgers.

Bartlett had already been a popular topic of discussion among the teams looking for a shortstop, and that interest intensified Monday as the Giants officially joined the market.

Though nothing is considered imminent, the Rays are likely to have several options if they decide to go ahead with a deal, turning the job over to Reid Brignac. In return, they'd most likely be looking for arms — preferably young — to rebuild their bullpen.

Teams with interest in Bartlett include the Cardinals, Giants, Orioles, Padres and Pirates.

Bartlett, 30, is in line to make in excess of $5 million via arbitration and will be a free agent after the season. He hit .254 with four homers and 47 RBIs.

Other available shortstops include Minnesota's J.J. Hardy and Boston's Marco Scutaro via trade and free agents Orlando Cabrera and Miguel Tejada.

Uribe, 31, agreed to a three-year deal for $21 million and is expected to spend most of his time next season at second base.

ARBITRATION DEADLINE: Right-hander Grant Balfour's decision on whether to accept arbitration and stay in the Rays bullpen on a one-year deal or decline and continue to explore free agency is headed to the final hours before tonight's midnight deadline. Balfour, 32, appears the only one of the seven free agents offered arbitration who might accept, as the Type A designation (costing the signing team a draft pick) might limit his market. The other six — Type A's Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano; Type B's Randy Choate, Brad Hawpe, Chad Qualls and Joaquin Benoit (who already signed with Detroit) — are expected to decline, making the Rays eligible for draft pick compensation if they sign elsewhere.

PLAYOFF PAYOFF: Getting beat in the first round of the playoffs wasn't a total loss as the Rays' playoff bonus was $28,141.51 each for the 45 players and staff voted full shares of the money derived from postseason gate receipts.

Around the majors

OBITUARY: Gil McDougald, a versatile All-Star infielder who helped the Yankees win five World Series championships during the 1950s, died Sunday of prostate cancer at his home in Wall Township, N.J. He was 82.

Mr. McDougald spent his entire 10-year career with the Yankees and played a key role on one of baseball's greatest dynasties. He finished with a .276 average, a .356 on-base percentage and a .410 slugging percentage in 1,336 games.

FELLER HOSPITALIZED: Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller is improving after being hospitalized with pneumonia. Feller, 92, was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic last week, Indians vice president Bob DiBiasio said. He has regained some strength and is doing better, DiBiasio said.

JETER TALKS: Derek Jeter and the Yankees haven't held contract talks in more than a week, and the shortstop's agent has yet to make a formal proposal. Newsday reported that the sides hope to restart talks this week. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Giants have been in contact with Jeter's agent, Casey Close, but haven't begun serious talks.

MARLINS: Right-hander Javier Vazquez, 34, reached a preliminary agreement on a $7 million, one-year contract.

RANGERS: Free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba, 32, agreed to a two-year, $6.25 million contract.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Shortstop's departure from San Francisco Giants might improve Tampa Bay Rays' chances of trading Jason Bartlett 11/29/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 29, 2010 10:55pm]
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