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Rays’ trade talks heating up

Posted Dec 10, 2008 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Dec 10, 2008 at 09:55 PM

LAS VEGAS—The Rays don’t expect to get anything done with any of the free agents they’ve discussed before heading for home tomorrow afternoon, but that doesn’t mean they expect to leave Sin City without a little action.

“We made some progress on a couple different trade fronts today,” Andrew Friedman allowed in his meeting with the local beat writers a short time ago. “There’s certainly a scenario in which something gets done before I get on a plane tomorrow.”

What might one of those deals be? At this point, there’s no telling. But it sounds like many of the rumors that have made their way out this week have only minimal basis in reality. Then again, who knows? Maybe they’ll swing a deal for Rick Ankiel or someone along those lines before the long flight home. Stay tuned.

In other news, Friedman confirmed the Rays met with free agent Bobby Abreu’s representatives today, along with the agents for several other players on the open market.

“We have basically talked to all the agents of players we have interest in,” Friedman said.

In addition to the bat the Rays are looking for, Friedman said the Rays have had talks toward shoring up the bullpen, but Friedman indicated that help might be more likely to come via trade. Why? The Rays aren’t sure exactly where Troy Percival will stand to start the season, and they’d like to have somebody around they could use to fill in but also option down if and when Percival is ready. They wouldn’t be able to do that with a veteran free agent type.

Finally, Friedman said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Rays lose anywhere from one to three players in tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft. Reliever Eduardo Morlan, the other guy who came over in the Delmon Young deal last fall, is the most prominent name on the Rays’ unprotected list.

One other evening note, courtesy of my old friend John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer: the Reds have had talks with Rocco Baldelli’s agent, according to GM Walt Jocketty. Cincinnati has also spoken with the agent for former Angel Juan Rivera, another guy who could be on the Rays’ list.

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