The Rays have shown interest in impending free agents Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth this summer, so they seem prepared to invest in players who won’t necessarily stay in Tampa after 2010. Today, GM Andrew Friedman confirmed to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune that the Rays are interested in players who aren’t under long-term control.
“There are some we’re looking at that we can control short-term and some that we can control longer,” Friedman said, noting that his decisions will vary depending on the situation. “We’re open-minded to either [type of player].”
Friedman says he sees fewer impact players available than there were in 2008 or 2009 and that seems especially true now that Lee and Dan Haren are off the market. The Rays don’t appear confident in their ability to acquire Werth, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported today that the team has interest in Chad Qualls.
The Rays, who seem willing to trade prospects, face a payroll drop in 2011, which may contribute to their interest in free agents-to-be. Owner Stuart Sternberg is prepared to spend in 2010, but the Rays will face cuts in 2011, when payroll is expected to drop below $60MM.