Rays Links: Price, Friedman, Baggage, Beckham

Happy birthday to Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann, who turns 30 years old today.  Niemann, the fourth overall pick of the 2004 draft, is looking to rebound from an injury-shortened 2012 season and has also drawn some interest on the trade market — the pitching-needy Rockies reportedly asked the Rays about Niemann's availability.  Here's the latest out of Tampa Bay…

  • "In a perfect world" David Price says he would love to stay with the Rays and "in a vacuum," executive VP Andrew Friedman would love to keep Price for years to come, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports.  Both men, however, are realistic about the difficulties involved in keeping Price in Tampa Bay over the long term.  Price is under team control through the 2015 season and recently said he wouldn't take a discount on a new multiyear deal to remain with the Rays.
  • Several recent additions to the Rays roster have checkered reputations off the field, MLB.com's Matthew Leach writes, and Friedman admits to making some "calculated risks" with such players as a function of operating in a small market.  "And we're much more comfortable taking them now than we probably were in '07, just having more of a developed culture.  So we go through things very methodically in great detail. And there have been guys we have determined wouldn't necessarily fit in, and others that we feel like the reward far outweighs the risk," Friedman said.
  • Joe Maddon is a fan of Tim Beckham, telling MLB.com's Bill Chastain that the 2008 first overall pick "has a really high ceiling as a Major League player" and sees Beckham "playing at a very high end for a very long time."  Beckham, 23, hit .256/.325/.361 in 323 PA at the Triple-A level in 2012 and was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for marijuana.   
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith reviewed the Rays' offseason earlier today on MLBTR.

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