ST. PETERSBURG — The post-World Series offseason was four days old when Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said it felt like it was 40 days old.
It's like that every year for Friedman, whose search for a first baseman, designated hitter, relief pitchers and upgrade at catcher is an annual tradition.
Friedman said on Wednesday that he had talks with a number of teams. Those talks will continue in Orlando at the annual general managers meetings that begin Monday and run through Wednesday.
Friedman said some trade and/or free-agent scenarios can become clearer this week and he will “get a better sense of what's real and what's not.”
It's no stretch to assume that a good number of those talks, if not all, center around or at least touch on one Ray — David Price, whose salary is expected to jump to $13.1 million for 2014.
Since James Shields was traded in the offseason before his contract exceeded $10 million, it seems more than likely the Rays will do the same this offseason with Price.
Even Price said he believes he will be traded.
The list of potential suitors bandied about in the national media already includes the Nationals, Rangers, Angels, Phillies, Red Sox and Dodgers.
Going by Friedman's history of trading his top pitchers — Matt Garza and James Shields — for an armful of prospects, teams with deep farm systems and a major league-ready or nearly ready stud or two would appear to be a logical destination. With that in mind, Fox baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal added the Royals, Mariners and Diamondbacks to the list.
Friedman doesn't expect much in the way of player movement this week, but some talks could lead to deals completed at the winter meetings, which begin Dec. 9 in Lake Buena Vista. There is speculation that a trade involving Price could happen during that time.
ESPN's Buster Olney listed the Rays as teams interested in trading for Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan.
James Loney can expect to receive a two-year, $16 million contract, according to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors. Fernando Rodney could get as much as two years, $18 million, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams. Adams also predicted the same contract for former Ray Grant Balfour. The Rays are one of five teams showing interest in Balfour, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Upon further review ...
Rays minor league prospect Ryan Brett became a footnote to Major League Baseball's expanded use of replay when he was involved last week in the first safe/out call to be overturned during an Arizona Fall League game.
The expanded use of replay is being tested in the AFL.
Brett was originally called out stealing second base. His manager called for the play to be reviewed. It was, and the call was correctly overturned. The entire process took a little more than a minute.
Alex Cobb had his No. 12, which he wore while playing football and baseball at Vero Beach High, retired Thursday during senior night at his alma mater. ... Evan Longoria was named the 2013 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year for the Rays. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was named the 2013 Wilson American League DPY. The Orioles and Royals tied for the AL Defensive Team of the Year. ... How's this for a 2014 promotion: Wil Myers comb night? Fans receive an empty package.