Most Devil Rays fans choose to forget about last year's offseason, mainly because nothing happened when many thought the team should've. Our big pre-New Year's signing was winning the rights to Shinji "Lost (Labrum) in Translation" Mori through through the now infamous "posting system" and our big trade was "Burroughs-for-Brazelton". Like Patrick being proud of the evolution of Jay Cutler from "punk kid"(eh, in the tamest sense of the word) to "Future Franchise QB", I'm proud of the evolution thus far of the NDRO. As the offseason and regular season went on, our signings and trades got better. Great to hear, especially for a Front Office who chose to view last year's Winter Meetings as observers and not movers.
Though we don't have a Free Agent signing (not including resigned veterans) yet, this year seems a whole lot different. The Rays surprised many when they won the bidding rights for Akinori Iwamura last week and are actively talking to players, known ones too, who are Free Agents. When you see the words "Devil Rays" , "contact" and "Mark Mulder" in the same sentence, you have to double-take. While he may not be the Mulder of old, due to injury and regressions in numbers, he'd still more-than-likely be an upgrade over Fossum/Seo/Corcoran.
With the Iwamura negotiations deemed to be "probably quick and painless", Friedman said that Iwamura's presumed signing gave the team a lot of "elbow room". Andy is not a guy who says questionable things or apt to "putting his foot in his mouth", so that more than likely means that we've got offers on the table and we're just waiting for Akinori to sign the contract to make a move. That move most likely will involve BJ Upton or Jorge Cantu, who are the subjects of my next part of my "Something's Gotta Give" triumvirate of stories.
Part I- Tale of 2 Offseasons
Part II- Upton Vs. Cantu
Part III- Hickey Vs. Xavier