May 1, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman talks to the media after signing designator hitter Hideki Matsui (not pictured) to a minor league contract at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Talks Progress for Tampa Bay Rays in Winter Meetings Day 1

A year to the day of the famed James Shields-Wil Myers trade, David Price remains a Tampa Bay Ray. Will that last for long? Let’s recap the Winter Meetings news regarding Price and every other player and figure out the moves we can expect from the Rays as the Meetings continue.

Jon Heyman reports that the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas Rangers are the three teams pushing for Price the hardest at this point. The Mariners we know about, but interesting to see how much the Rangers are in the picture even after the Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade. WIll they be willing to part with Jurickson Profar in a potential deal?

For the Dodgers, meanwhile, they either are a “longshot” to get Price because of their lack of big league-ready top prospects or are “matching up” on a deal, whatever that means. One interesting question that we will discuss tomorrow is whether the Rays could be willing to accept talented prospects who may not be as big league ready, something that would amke a Dodgers offer built around Corey Seager and Julio Urias look a lot better.

On the whole, the Rays are taking their time making a deal as they wait for a team to blow them away with an offer, but Joe Maddon says they are not likely to keep him until next season. It seems like a Price tride is imminent this offseason, but when exactly it goes down is anybody’s guess. Seems like the bottom line is going to be when a team decides to part with a Wil Myers-caliber player like Taijuan Walker or Jurickson Profar–will that happen at the Winter Meetings or will teams’ desperation increase in later months? Andrew Friedman told Marc Topkin that talks are progressing, and Topkin noted that the Rays are meeting more with teams than agents, apparently to discuss Price.

On other fronts, we are hearing first basemen discussed quite frequently, from Ike Davis to Mark Trumbo to Logan Morrison, and it none of those players seem especially likely to end up a Ray at this point. Morrison is about to be dealt, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post stated that the Rays have never engaged the Miami Marlins regarding Morrison. Trumbo is picking up plenty of interest and the odds of him being traded are increasing. With Trumbo’s value significantly higher than a player like Morrison or Davis, it is hard to see the Rays parting with the prospects necessary to facilitate a deal, making a Price trade the only way they would acquire him. With the Angels lacking the other pieces for such a trade, however, expect Trumbo to head elsewhere. Speaking of Davis, the Milwaukee Brewers met today with the New York Mets about a possible trade. Whether or not the Brewers get Davis, it could work out for the Rays because no trade leaves the opportunity upon for Andrew Friedman to get a deal done and a trade falling into place could make a signing of Corey Hart more likely.

In other Rays news, the Dodgers are interested in ex-Ray (and former Dodger) Jamey Wright and former Ray Grant Balfour, who we have heard surprisingly little about this offseason, has a suitor in the Cleveland Indians. Wright could be an option to return if the price stays low, but Los Angeles joining the mix could nix that. Balfour, meanwhile, is one of the closer types the Rays could pounce on if he ends up without a team later in the offseason, but after a great 2013, you have to think that the Indians or another team will reel him in.

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Tags: Andrew Friedman David Price Tampa Bay Rays

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