The Rays(Andrew Freidman) held a little pre-winter meetings news conference yesterday. Marc Lancaster has some highlights on his blog Rays Report. Here are the one's I found interesting or at least worthy of posting here:
Friedman said the team’s first priority this winter is improving the offense, with the focus on the right field/DH slot. He said he doesn’t know if that slot will go to one player or two, but he doesn’t consider it realistic to bring in two “impact-type guys” for those spots.
Jason Giambi would do just fine, but so would Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, Miltion Bradley or Bobby Abreu for that matter.
While Friedman considers pitching the Rays’ greatest area of depth, he said that doesn’t necessarily mean the Rays feel like they need to move anyone to make room in the rotation or bullpen.
GM speak here. I'm guessing this is Andrew's way of saying to GM's that if you want what we have you're going to have to pay our price, otherwise we'll just keep all the arms.
Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel, who will be out of options in 2009, will get a look in the bullpen.
I don't see Hammel making this team, but Niemann is interesting. On one hand, I think he could be a future closer, but others have told me he takes too long to warm up or he's just not durable enough to throw out there 50+ times a year. He could just take Hammel's role as the long man and be much better at it than Hammel was.
The Rays remain in touch with the agents for free agents Rocco Baldelli, Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske, and depending on how things break there’s a chance they could return.
Doesn't sound good for Rocco fans.
The team doesn’t expect B.J. Upton, who recently underwent shoulder surgery, to be ready to play in time for the first spring training games. But with exhibitions running from Feb. 25-April 4, the Rays believe he’ll have plenty of time to gear up for the season. In fact, look for the Rays to take it slow with all of their regulars early in spring training given the length of the spring schedule next year.
Take it easy with B.J. and let Perez get a nice look in Spring Training.