With many — but not all — of the top free agent arms now gone from the market, the Rays appear to be ramping up discussions involving their pitchers. Tampa Bay has long been said to be willing to listen on its array of starters and late-inning relievers, though it hasn’t made any deals since shipping Nate Karns to the Mariners to kick off the winter’s activities.
Here’s the latest:
- The Rays are engaged in “’many’ active trade conversations” involving pitching, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported yesterday on Twitter. It seems as if the club’s previous talks, which appeared to have some steam during the Winter Meetings, have been re-joined now that the market has gained additional clarity.
- Indeed, Tampa Bay has “picked up the pace” on discussions, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The team is still holding conversations involving top relievers Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger as well as various starters. The one name that clearly is not in play is staff ace Chris Archer.
- The Cubs have remained in “constant contact” with the Rays, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (audio link). It’s previously been suggested that Chicago could have interest in Alex Cobb, but Bowden hints that Jake Odorizzi could make a nice fit for Chicago in a deal. The hang-up, though, is that the Cubs are trying to swing a deal without giving up Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, or other major league pieces.