A roundup of some of the most recent rumors surrounding the Rays.
- According to Marc Topkin, J.P. Howell has "a handful" of suitors. Unlike last offseason, when Howell was returning from surgery and had a handshake agreement to return with the Rays, it appears J.P. is content to hit the open market and see how much he can fetch. The Rays have the bullpen depth that they'll be okay without Howell, and there's no sense in them paying through the nose for any bullpen arm (nonetheless one that had some home run issues while pitching in an extreme pitcher's park). Still, I will miss The Dude if/when Howell signs with another team.
- This rumor is a few days old, but Ken Rosenthal recently noted that the Rays are interested in the Royals' top prospect, Wil Myers. Uhh, yeah? Who wouldn't be interested in Myers? At age 21 last season, he slugged 37 home runs across two minor league levels (Double- and Triple-A). He's a potential impact bat, and he's played primarily in the outfield recently. The Royals are rightly loathe to trade him, and I personally doubt the Rays are able to nab even, but the Royals are in the market for more pitching...
- Joel Peralta's two-year, $6 million deal should be officially announced early this week, as Peralta is currently in town to undergo his physical (Marc Topkin).
- B.J. Upton is receiving interest from two main teams so far -- the Braves and Phillies -- and the Nationals and a few other teams have inquired. And yet, the MLBTR readers yesterday narrowly chose Michael Bourne over Upton as their preferred free-agent-of-choice. How much will Upton receive, and will he sign before or after Bourne? We'll just have to see.
- As Topkin noted in his Sunday morning column, the price for free agent bats is as high as ever this winter. It's difficult to say so far if free agent prices are inflating at all, but we'll likely get a good idea of where the market is headed once some of the top talent starts to sign. In the meantime, it's safe to assume the Rays won't pursue any free agent bats until January, and -- as we all expected -- that they are quite likely to look for an impact bat through trade.