Rays Unlikely To Acquire Closer

The Rays don't find adding a closer realistic this offseason, executive VP Andrew Friedman told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  Friedman's said the Rays are more likely to add two or three late-inning relievers who can handle high-leverage situations.  The plan is sure to please the stat-head crowd. 

J.P. Howell saved 17 games in 25 opportunities for the Rays this year, but the majority of his blown saves occurred before the ninth inning.  I'm not sure which free agent relievers the Rays will target this offseason, but Kiko Calero seems like their type.  Between free agents and trade candidates, the market for closers is deep this winter, but the Rays are right not to pay a premium for the closer tag (they did so with Troy Percival back in December of '07). 

Additionally, manager Joe Maddon and Friedman said they expected catcher Dioner Navarro and DH Pat Burrell to rebound in 2010.  Navarro is on our list of non-tender candidates, so we'll see whether the Rays cut him loose in mid-December.

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