The Rays don’t have much money to spend this offseason. However, they have holes at designated hitter and in right field. The Rays declined Cliff Floyd’s option. Jonny Gomes and and Gabe Gross are both non-tender condidates. The team may have to look to trades. Either Edwin Jackson or Andy Sonnanstine have to be moved to open up a spot in the rotation for David Price. I did a player market for Jackson here. Rick Ankiel and Ryan Church are still reasonable targets to me. It is more likely that the Rays trade Jackson and keep Sonnanstine. I thing E-Jax has more value because of upside. I really don’t think Sonny will get any better, but Jackson still has a world of potential. Also, definatley watch for the Rick Ankiel trade if the Cards aquire Matt Holliday without giving up Ryan Ludwick. The Rays could attempt to trade for Holliday as well if they are willing to center a deal around co-top pitching prospect Wade Davis. They could go after Matt Murton through a trade with the A’s. He’s not needed in Oakland and should be easily had. The other possibility is cheap free agents. If the Rays promise Rocco Baldelli the starting DH job, they’ll probably get him to stay. I think that’s a very likely scenerio. Eric Hinske could be resigned as well. Or, they could just use Gross and Gomes in a right field platoon. The Rays have many options to attempt a repeat to the world series.
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It is possible the Braves decide to sell low on Jeff Francoeur for some starting pitching this offseason. A possible fit could be in Tampa Bay. The Rays might be a team interested in taking a shot on Frankie if they miss out on other free agent and trade options. Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine could be available since David Price will move into the rotation next year. I don’t think Andy Sonnanstine would be enough for the Braves, but Edwin Jackson might make sense. Both players have been dissapionting, but both players still have hugh upside. This one might end up looking like the Edinson Volquez for Josh Hamilton swap. This is a possible trade that could make sense for both teams.
The Rockies are likely to entertain offers for Matt Holliday this winter. Lets take a look at some teams that could be interested.
Rockies (frontrunner) There is no clear fit for Holliday, making it likely that he stays put this winter. It seems as though teams would be more willing to sign a Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, or Pat Burrell before trading top prospects for Holliday. I think he stays.
Rays (possible) If the Rays miss out on the big free agent targets named above then Holliday makes sense here. They would need to be willing to part with some prospects, however. I don’t think the Rox will ask for David Price again just as they did at the trade-deadline. I think Wade Davis and Reid Brignac would definatly get a deal done unless Dan O’Dowd is still asking for the moon like he did with Holliday and Brian Fuentes at the trade-deadline. I don’t know if the Rays would do that deal, either.
Angels (possible) The Angels are a possible destination if they miss out on Mark Teixera and maybe even if they bring back Tex. Nick Adenhart could be available and maybe Adenhart plus Sean Rodriguez = Matt Hoilliday. I think the Angels would do that move. The time for the Rockies to make that trade was July 28, 2008, however, because the Angels might of even offered more and gotten Holliday instead of Teixera. A deal still could be worked out, though.
Yankees (possible) The Yankees could pull off a trade for Holliday. If they let Bobby Abreu walk they could move Xavier Nady to right which opens up a run at Holliday to play left field. They would have to offer Phil Hughes or Austin Jackson, however. The Yankees seem to want to keep Jackson and make him their every-day center fielder at some point next year or in 2010 worst case scenerio. Hughes seems more likely, but that doesn’t mean they’ll move him. The Rockies would jump at a chance to get either, though, and you never know what Hank Steinbrenner will order Brian Cashman to do.
Phillies (possible) This might not happen becasue the Phillies don’t have much young talent. They would have to give up the entire farm to get him and that might not be enough. It would take a package of Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Greg Golson, and Joe Savery. This would kill the system, and I’m not sure they would want to do that for a rentall. They might not be able to afford it, either, unless they make a Ryan Howard trade and that doesn’t make a lot of sense unless they get a great offer. I don’t know if the Rox would even take that. They have a better center field prospect, better catcher, and get only 2 good, not great, pitching prospects.
Nationals (slim chance) It has been stated that the Nats could make a huge offer to the Rox and then ask for a 72 hour negotiation clause. Then they would offer him a major deal and get him to sign an extension with them. This doesn’t make much sense to me because A) Holliday will almost definatly want to test the free agent market unless he gets Scott Boras’ crazy demands in the extension. And B) Why don’t the Nats just keep their young talent and make this monster offer in the offseason of next year. I doubt this happens and if they’re even interested, Jim Bowden needs to be fired right away.
Royals (slim chance) They too are not likely for the same reasons the Nationals aren’t. But, since they are a possibility I will metion them.
Blue Jays (Dark Horse) This would be if my wild trade thought happens. I don’t think it’s likely, but that’s why they are a dark horse and not a favorite. You can see what I think about a possible aquisition in the link.
The Tampa Bay Rays, the biggest surprise of the 2008 season, will hopefully build on their successfull 2008 season with a good offseason. In my top 50 free agents, I predicted they would dole out the cash and sign Adam Dunn. If they do, their offseason would be just about done. The only needs they have are DH and right field. They sign Dunn for DH, and could resign Eric Hinske or pick up Cliff Floyd’s option for ’09. Then trade for Matt Murton. They have always liked Murton, and tried to trade for him when he was with the Cubs. Murton seems to be avalable with the A’s because they have Travis Buck, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeny and eventually Aaron Cunningham for the outfield. Murton shouldn’t be too hard to pry loose from Billy Beane, a GM always open to making a deal. Maybe offer them a Jason Hammel and Mitch Talbot. Neither guy has anywhere to go in the Rays organazation. Platoon Hinske with Murton and you have a successfull right field. If the Rays can’t get Dunn, they could still go after other DHs like Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Raul Ibanez, and Jason Giambi. They can keep the same right field. They could even sign Bobby Abreu and have him play right field and DH switching off with the platoon of Murton and Hinske. They will have to move a starter in the offseason. Either Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson need to be traded to open up a spot for stud prospect David Price. Maybe instead of using the platoon of Murton and Hinske they can trade Sonnanstine or Jackson for a right fielder. The Tampa Bay Rays have options, and are only one Adam Dunn type player awaty from contending for a world series.