tampabay.com

Rays lay groundwork for trade talk

Andrew Friedman did not make a trade during the Thanksgiving weekend, but said his effort was not wasted.

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published November 28, 2005


The Devil Rays executive vice president of baseball operations said he believes the foundation was laid for more talks during the winter meetings Dec.5-8 in Dallas.

"We'll be working the phones going into Dallas to lay that foundation further," Friedman said Sunday. "Some of the conversations will be more pointed."

The most advanced talks apparently concern centerfielder Joey Gathright, who it is believed has drawn interest from 10 teams, including the Dodgers, Marlins, White Sox, Cubs, Angels and Giants; and catcher Toby Hall, with inquires from the Dodgers, Mets, Marlins, Rockies and Diamondbacks.

Friedman would not specify what he wants in return. Speculation is he asked the Mets about pitcher Aaron Heilman, the Dodgers about catching prospect Russ Martin and the Marlins about minor-league pitchers Josh Johnson, Yusmeiro Petit and Anibal Sanchez.

Friedman said he wants prospects for any position who will be big-league ready some time in 2006.

"We do not see them as mutually exclusive," Friedman said of obtaining youth and immediate help.

Helping the trade value of closer Danys Baez was the signing of B.J. Ryan by the Blue Jays for $47-million over five years. With Billy Wagner expected to get at least that much, Baez, at $4-million next season, is a bargain.

"Until the free-agent market starts to take form, it's tough to get a feel how the market will develop for need-based trades," Friedman said.