The Rays Tank: Rumor round-up

J. Meric

The hot stove continues.

On Friday, B.J. Upton officially declined the Tampa Bay Rays' qualifying offer, making him a free agent and guaranteeing the Rays a compensatory draft pick if when he signs with another team. Also declining qualifying offers from their respective clubs were, Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton and Kyle Lohse.

"This decision doesn't preclude us from continuing our dialogue with B.J.," Andrew Friedman told the Tampa Bay Times. "All it does is ensure that we receive something of value if B.J. signs elsewhere."

Meanwhile, most of the focus in the Rays world centered around the other, younger Upton brother. In case you missed it, Daniel Russell took a fantastic look at the recent struggles of Justin Upton and what may be the underlying cause, whether it be injury or skill set.

Friedman hasn't made many blockbuster trades in his tenure with Tampa Bay, mostly relying on smaller deals centered around packages and prospects. It is still a long shot, but the fan in me gets very excited at the possibility of J-Up roaming right field at the Trop.

To do so, the Rays would obviously have to flip a pitcher and Ken Rosenthal reported that one executive told him there was "no chance" Price would be dealt this winter, leaving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the likely targets. With a glut of talented arms and a lot of offensive holes to fill, I would not be surprised if someone ends up leaving town before pitchers and catchers report in February.

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