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More Tampa Bay Rays News and Rumors for December 9th: Rays "Front Runners" for Rafael Soriano, Texas Rangers Show Interest In Dioner Navarro, and More

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The biggest and boldest new rumor is clearly Rafael Soriano to the Rays. Here's the latest update:

[Note by R.J. Anderson, 12/09/09 4:50 PM EST ]

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Soriano deal could get done today, sources say. Rays very interested but balking at $ and player(s)

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Rays looking like frontrunner for reliever Soriano — 4:07 p.m.

Tampa Bay appears ready to finally address the two-year late-inning bullpen problem. The key for the Rays is coming to grips with the fact they will have to expand the payroll a few million dollars to accommodate a closer.

The Rays and Houston are making the strongest push to acquire right-handed closer Rafael Soriano from Atlanta with growing indications that the Rays are likely to make the move.

Ringolsby isn't the most analytical writer in the world, so his emphasis on closers is going to be quite a bit stronger than someone like, say, Larry Stone. Regardless, we'll keep you updated if we hear/see anything further. Worth noting is that Houston is on the verge of acquiring another Rays target, Matt Lindstrom, which would -- presumably -- take them out of the Soriano race.

After the jump, the latest on Dioner Navarro and the Texas Rangers.

From ESPN's Richard Durrett:

Jason Kendall remains on the club's catching wish list and they've expressed some interest in Tampa Bay's Dioner Navarro. Interest in Toronto's Rod Barajas has lessened some because he's asking for more money than the Rangers appear willing to pay right now.

This isn't too much of a surprise, as Bill Chastain hinted at such in a recent piece. Who knows how close the Rays are to moving Navarro, but time is beginning to run out.