Andrew Friedman doesn't think the Rays' search for a first baseman will last beyond another week, the club's executive VP told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). "There were some suggestions…of movement" between the Rays and James Loney on Thursday, Topkin reports, and Loney remains the Rays' top choice, though at less than his three-year, $27MM asking price. If Loney signs elsewhere, Topkin expects the Rays to acquire a first baseman in a trade rather than in free agency.
Here are some more items from around baseball as we conclude the 2013 Winter Meetings…
- This might be the optimal time for the Braves to trade Craig Kimbrel, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required). Kimbrel is about to get much more expensive now that he's eligible for arbitration, to the point that Kimbrel's incredible statistics "broke" the arbitration projection model used by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
- Rumors connecting Rickie Weeks to the Blue Jays, Braves and Marlins during the Winter Meetings were all false, Brewers GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
- Ryan Kalish "is in the final stages" of signing with a new team, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Kalish was non-tendered by the Red Sox earlier this month. The outfielder missed the entire 2013 season recovering from shoulder and neck surgeries.
- Several teams, including the Red Sox, have been scouting right-hander Ryan Madson, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. The Rockies were also recently linked to Madson, who has missed two full seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- ESPN's Paul Swydan (Insider subscription required) lists four teams who could be helped by the inexpensive additions of Kevin Youkilis, Brian Roberts, Johan Santana and Jeff Francis, respectively. Swydan also wrote about how Clint Barmes could help the Mets, but Barmes re-signed with the Pirates earlier today.
- Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall discussed his team's desire for a top starting pitcher, the recent Mark Trumbo deal and several other topics during a live chat with fans on MLB.com.
- The Pirates, Orioles and Indians could be risking their recent success with their hesitation to spend, USA Today's Bob Nightengale opines.
- Several team executives and scouts joined ESPN's Jayson Stark in listing the winners and losers of the offseason thus far, with a pair of teams (the Mariners and Yankees) somewhat in between, in the "winners with an asterisk" category.