AL East Links: Price, Lester, Papi, Orioles

Timing will be the trickiest issue of the offseason for Rays, GM Andrew Friedman tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Even if Friedman has an early opportunity to address first base (e.g. re-signing James Loney) or left field, he will have to keep the possibility of a David Price trade in the back of his mind. Acting too quickly to fill either hole could cause the team to miss out on a superior, more permanent option at the position that could be filled in a potential Price trade. Says Friedman: "We have to utilize all the information we have accumulated to that point to make the best decision possible while also appreciating the trickle-down effect of each move." Here's more from the AL East…

  • Jon Lester told reporters, including WEEI.com's Alex Speier, that he's excited to be returning to the Red Sox for another year after having his option picked up but hopes that he can work out a long-term deal with the team. Lester is currently more focused on celebrating Boston's 2013 World Series victory, but said "Hopefully [next year is] not the only one and we can be here for a long time."
  • David Ortiz is still producing at a virtually ageless clip, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald in arguing that the Red Sox should extend their DH. Big Papi is signed through 2014, but his potent bat and status as face of the franchise should earn him a lengthier guarantee, opines Silverman.
  • The Orioles must decide if they wish to protect left-handers Chris Jones and Tim Berry as well as catcher Michael Ohman from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to their 40-man roster, says Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Connolly also points out the potential fit between the O's and Mark Ellis, should Brian Roberts not be re-signed. There's still some mutual interest between Baltimore and Roberts, Connolly reports.

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