Eduardo Encina is a Devil Rays beat writer for the Tampa Tribune. In today’s article, Encina makes it clear that Aubrey Huff is prepared to leave Tampa Bay this winter. He mentions the Cubs, Mariners, Red Sox, Angels, and Orioles as the interested parties.
I spoke to Encina late last night, and he elaborated on some of the details concerning Huff. Encina listed five different suitors for Huff in his article, but mentioned to me that there are actually seven teams hot on his trail. He told me the Cubs are the "most interested team." One team not mentioned in his article that is in play is the Mets.
Encina mentioned that Huff rumors get complicated mainly because of all the possibilities for a package deal with Julio Lugo, Toby Hall, or Danys Baez. He said Huff is the player the Rays are most eager to deal, but they require a "top-prospect pitcher and a position player add in." This quote from Huff in Encina’s article makes it clear that Aubrey has packed his bags:
"It always seems like they’re shopping me around to see what they’re going to get. You don’t shop unless you mean it."
Given that the Cubs are the frontrunners at the moment, who could they send over to acquire Huff? In my estimation, the pitcher required would be one of Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, and Sean Marshall. In perusing the position players on the Cubs’ 40 man roster, it makes sense that catcher Geovany Soto could be involved as well.
UPDATE: I spoke to Encina a little bit more, and he told me a trade of Toby Hall is becoming "more unlikely by the day." Given that and an impending Lugo deal, the Rays could try to obtain a shortstop as part of a Huff trade. Regardless, the focus of the Devil Rays will continue to be pitching.