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No Offer to Bonds

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Update [2006-12-5 19:17:35 by R.J. Anderson]:

From Carter Gaddis

During his daily briefing with reporters, Devil Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman confirmed the team has exchanged figures with ?a couple? of free agents. Those are believed to be Russ Springer and Octavio Dotel, two relievers who have a history with Rays senior VP and former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker. Reliever David Riske, who once served as Cleveland?s closer, also is believed to be on Tampa Bay?s radar.

The Rays haven?t made any overtures toward free agent Darin Erstad, despite Manager Joe Maddon?s fondness for the longtime Angels center fielder/first baseman. It?s beginning to look like Erstad won?t end up with Tampa Bay, although that could change.

Also, B.J. Upton is here to share an award with his brother, Diamondbacks prospect Justin Upton. The elder Upton, who was moved from shortstop to third base last season, said he is willing to play outfield if the Rays decide that?s where he should be. While that doesn?t mean he?ll play outfield for the Rays next year, it could make him a more attractive candidate for other teams to ask about in trade talks.

The Rays met with the agent for LHP Scott Kazmir today. Kazmir begins his first season of arbitration eligibility in 2007, and the Rays would love to lock him into a long-term deal before the season starts. But Kazmir, conscious of the skyrocketing salaries being offered frontline starting pitchers, might not fall into line for the kind of contracts Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford signed, in which they avoided arbitration and essentially gave up their first year of free agency.

The Rays are trying to be creative on the trade front, inquiring with other teams (such as the Mariners, who are rumored to be willing to move Richie Sexton or Adrian Beltre) about getting involved in a multi-team deal.

Friedman said he has spoken with about 20 teams the past two days. Despite an apparent interest in Baldelli and/or Upton from the Marlins, Florida isn?t believed to be one of the teams the Rays have conversed with the first two days.

From Fox Sports

The Devil Rays are getting significant trade interest in second baseman Jorge Cantu, who missed six weeks with a broken left foot early in the season and never regained full mobility. If the Rays traded Cantu, they could play unsigned Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura at second and go with either B.J. Upton or Ty Wigginton at third. Cantu, 24, had 28 homers, 117 RBIs and an .808 on-base/slugging percentage in 2005, but declined to 14 homer, 62 RBIs and a .699 OPS last season. The Padres still have a need at second base, and the Braves could have an opening if they trade Marcus Giles.

from Mark Topkin

The Rays met Monday night with representatives from the Beverly Hills Sports Council. The agents that make up the council represent a number of veteran relievers that are among those the Rays likely have interest in, including Octavio Dotel, Matt Herges, Rick White, Keith Foulke, and Arthur Rhodes. And - through Borris - they also represent Bonds. "We met with the Rays tonight,'' Borris said in the lobby of the main winter meetings hotel around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday. "But I don't want to say if we talked about Barry or not. I want to respect their privacy.''

from T.R. Sullivan, Texas Rangers beat writer's blog

Trades? The Mariners have Jeremy Reed but want John Danks. The Devil Rays have Rocco Baldelli but want Mark Teixeira. The Kansas City Royals are looking to move Joey Gathright but the Rangers don't seem to be too interested. Milwaukee is looking to trade outfielders but the Rangers see Brady Clark as a fourth outfielder

From ESPN

A high-ranking Tampa Bay executive flatly denied an Internet report that the Devil Rays have made an offer to Barry Bonds, or even explored the possibility of making an offer to Bonds. "Absolutely not true," he said.

from Fox Sports

Free agent Darin Erstad's first choice is to remain with the Angels, but he also is receiving interest from the Rockies, who would play him in center field, and the Orioles and Devil Rays, who would play him at first base.

from MLB Trade Rumors

The Orioles are very intrigued by Tampa Bay Devil Rays center fielder Rocco Baldelli, who is said to be available. However, one American League executive, who was aware of the Devil Rays' asking price for Baldelli, said it would probably take Loewen and Ray for Tampa Bay to sign off on the deal. The Orioles might do one of the pitchers for the oft-injured Baldelli, but not both.

Keep hitting refresh for the latest updates from the Winter Meetings.

DRays Bay elsewhere on the Net

Look for R.J.'s view on Dewon Brazelton, on our sister blog, Royals Review, rest assured that will not be the only apperance this week from DRB on another blog, or from another blog on here...