I recently named the St. Petersburg Times’ Marc Topkin as Rumor Royalty for the Rays. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for the site.
MLBTR: Do you expect Rocco Baldelli to be with the Rays on Opening Day? What kind of trade value does he have right now?
Topkin: I definitely expect him to be there, as much because the Rays need him badly the way the team is presently constructed as because his trade value is so low because of his lack of playing time due to a series of injuries. I can’t imagine the Rays getting anywhere near enough value for him now compared to what his peak value was/could be. An interesting sidenote is that the Rays have to decide by April 1 on his 2009 option, picking between a $4-million buyout or a $6-million salary AND then being on the hook for his combined 2010-11 option or a $2-million buyout.