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Jake's Take: Chatting it up

Rays fans have shown up in baseball chats today...

First the Jim Callis Chat on ESPN....

Jake (DRays Bay, IL): 2 Questions, 1 about a former "superstar in the making" prospect and 1 about a future "future superstar in the making".

If you were the GM of the Rays, what would you do with BJ Upton? Would you use him in the "Super Utility" role that they're planning on doing this year or would you put him at 1 set position and send him to Durham?

With the Rays having the #1 pick and Price being the almost "hands down" best college Pitcher thus far, should the Rays be worried that Price has pitched 3 consecutive CGs and the last 2 have seen his pitch counts hit the 120 mark and higher(His last start was a 10 inning, 137 pitch performance)?

Jim Callis: (2:01 PM ET ) 1. Upton eventually will wind up in the outfield, but that's a little crowded right now in Tampa Bay. He needs big league at-bats, and I think this is the best strategy for the short term.

2. Not sure Price has been hands down the best, as North Carolina State's Andrew Brackman also has been impressive. I'm sure the Rays and other interested teams aren't happy about Price's pitch counts, but there's not much they can do other than hope he holds up. I can't imagine he'll keep throwing 120-130 pitches every week.

Chris ( S,I, N.Y. ): Jim I know it's hard to project minor league closers but Juan Salas has done well this spring and With McClung's poor performance this spring and no clear canidate for the closer in Tampa is it far fetched to say Salas has a legitimate chance to end up the closer at some point this season?

Jim Callis: (2:03 PM ET ) Not far-fetched at all. He's a converted third baseman with a mid-90s fastball that has so much natural cutting action that it draws comparisons to Mariano Rivera's cutter. Salas also has a mid-80 slider.

Daniel (Mission Viejo, CA): Jim, What do you think of Matt Walker on the Devil Rays. Future 2/3 starter or more of a back of the rotation/reliever type guy?

Jim Callis: (2:06 PM ET ) More of a middle of the rotation type of guy. He has plenty of stuff to start. He does have the makeup and the stuff to become a closer, but the plan right now is to develop him as a starter.

Tim C (Brandon, FL): Hi Jim, If your the GM for the Devil Rays today, what do you do to make this team a contender (besides spending a lot of money of course, which we know doesn't happen here).

Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) Be patient and don't panic. Their farm system is loaded and they do have enough pitching to eventually contend. In my annual season preview for three yeras in the future, I picked the Devil Rays to win the 2010 World Series. And I meant it.

Jake (DRays Bay): It's Jake again and I've got a follow-up question. If you had the choice between Brackman and Price for your #1 pick, knowing that Price is more polished and almost ML-ready and Brack is going to take a few years but may have the most upside, who would you choose (pitching-wise)? Also, is there any chance that JMU Duke Kellen Kulbacki falls into the 2nd round for the Rays' next pick?

Jim Callis: (2:22 PM ET ) If Brackman and Price are close in my eyes (or in the Rays' eyes), the deciding factor very well could be price (no pun intended). Brackman is advised by Scott Boras, while I believe Price is advised by Bo McKinnis. Kulbacki has been gaining momentum, and with college bats in short supply, he could sneak into the supplemental first round with the right club.

A question that made me laugh...

JP (NYC): Bigger head: Bonds or Mr. Met?

Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Bonds.

And a few Rays questions appeared in Kevin Goldstein's chat at BP.

lennyd (Portland OR): Hi Kevin, Two young Florida teams. Do you think the Devil Rays will get to 70 wins and will the Marlins get to 500?

Kevin Goldstein: I think the Marlins bounce back a bit this year and fall short of .500. The Devil Rays will win more than 70 games this year. They might be closer to 80, actually.

Lasken (Clifton, VA): Though he's had only 6 starts, how would you compare David Price to Lincum and Andrew Miller from last year? Is Price a top 10 prospect on your list next year?

Kevin Goldstein: They're very close, and I talked about this in a recent draft notebook. I have Miller at #19 in my Top 100, and I would Price lands at about the same spot next year.

Norville Barnes (Muncie, IN): What's the latest word on Elijah Dukes? It sounds that he's behaving himself this spring and is likely to stick in Tampa. What are the odds that he lasts there all year?

Kevin Goldstein: He's pretty much a lock to break camp with the team and get 300 at-bats or so filling in at all three outfield positions, DH, and first base. I think he'll do pretty well if he stays out of trouble.

Some pretty positive things coming from 2 well-respected baseball writers.