As the Winter Meetings loom in Dallas next week, Tampa prepares for their own variation on house cleaning. From the St. Petersberg Times’ Damian Christodero.
The most advanced talks apparently concern centerfielder Joey Gathright (above), who it is believed has drawn interest from 10 teams, including the Dodgers, Marlins, White Sox, Cubs, Angels and Giants; and catcher Toby Hall, with inquires from the Dodgers, Mets, Marlins, Rockies and Diamondbacks.
Friedman would not specify what he wants in return. Speculation is he asked the Mets about pitcher Aaron Heilman, the Dodgers about catching prospect Russ Martin and the Marlins about minor-league pitchers Josh Johnson, Yusmeiro Petit and Anibal Sanchez.
Friedman said he wants prospects for any position who will be big-league ready some time in 2006.
“We do not see them as mutually exclusive,” Friedman said of obtaining youth and immediate help.
Helping the trade value of closer Danys Baez was the signing of B.J. Ryan by the Blue Jays for $47-million over five years. With Billy Wagner expected to get at least that much, Baez, at $4-million next season, is a bargain.
Baez’s contract is such a bargain that he’s considered a luxury the Devil Rays cannot afford, hence his trade bait status for the past year.