Marc Topkin reports that there is a high level of interest at the winter meetings for a couple of Rays relievers. It just might not be the relievers you would think…

Word at GM meetings in Orlando is that interest is strong in free-agent relievers Benoit + Choate

By now, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that there is a high-level of interest in Joaquin Benoit. He was one of the best relievers in the AL last year, and just because the Rays are anonymous to the media, doesn’t mean the players are anonymous to the other GMs.

On the other hand, interest in Randy Choate is a little surprising. While Choate had a good, if not spectacular season, lefty specialists are not that rare.

P.S. The picture at right is of Andrew Friedman at the GM meetings, with a certain local writer in the background gazing intently.


  • We also get the first confirmation that the Rays are listening to offers for Jason Bartlett with Jerry Crasnick saying “a bunch of teams need shortstops.” [Twitter]
  • Peter Barzilai predicts that Rafael Soriano will get three years and $33 million from the Angels. [USA Today]
  • Buster Olney calls the Rays bullpen the #1 personnel challenge of the off-season. [ESPN]
  • Carl Crawford received votes for District 12 state senator. [Tampa Tribune]




  1. phil says:

    Soriano better go the white sox ...are the phillies still pursuing Beniot after the Phillies just signed contreas?

    Any would on Balfour?

  2. Don says:

    We had the BEST relievers in baseball last year...and probably the best FIVE starting pitchers...and two gold glovers plus other excellent defensive players..
    Where did we go wrong...Oh I forgot a lineup that consisted of 3/4/5 .200 hitters everyday...but at least it wasn't the coaches fault!

    • Tom says:

      The best 5 starting pitchers? Are you serious?

      • Don says:

        NAME ME 5 better...I copy and eat my post...

        • Tom says:

          Off the top of my head: Red Sox, White Sox, Cardinals, Giants, Phillies, and Braves. There is 6.

          Lets look at the Starting Pitchers ranking in the AL in some key categories:
          IP 5th
          K/9 3rd
          BB/9 4th
          HR/9 12th
          ERA 3rd
          FIP 9th

          Without a doubt, the Rays have a solid starting 5 but they were not the best in baseball. I think the low ERA is due to good pitching but also great fielding. The staff gave up alot of homers.

          • Don says:

            Your naming teams....who has FIVE better starting pitchers than the Rays...I want to know...what are their names....

        • Tom says:

          You want the actual rotations? Here goes:

          Giants: Lincecum,Cain, Sanchez,Bumgarner,Zito
          Phillies: Doc,Oswalt,Hamels,Blanton,Moyers
          Bosox: Lester,Buchholz,Beckett,Lackey,Matsuzaka
          Chisox: Danks,Buerhrle,Floyd,Peavy,Jackson
          Braves: Hudson,Hanson,Lowe, Jurrjen,Medlen
          Cards: Carpenter,Wainright,Garcia,Penny,Westbrook
          Rockies: Jiminez,Chacin, De La Rosa, Hammel,Cook

          There are 7 although there is certainly an argument to be made the Rays have a better rotation than the Rockies. There are a few other teams a strong argument can be made for that there starter are at least equal to the Rays (Yankees, Padres, and Dodgers). Again I am not saying the Rays Rotation is not good, I am just saying it is not the best in Baseball.

  3. phil says:

    need to work on the bullpen and the line-up ...How about Shields to LA for Loney the first baseman?

  4. The BIZ says:

    why cant the rays sign soriano to a 3 year 33 deal? they could trade bartlett and shield/garze and be well under 60 mill payroll.

    cork is there any way that the rays are actually the black horse in this and come in and at least match an offer of the highest bidder? i realize its wishful thinking, but i mean how man 30 year old dominant closers are out there.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I think they could, but they won't. My feeling is the Rays are going to "write off" the 2011 season and then reload in 2012. If that is the case, then they won't spend $7-10 million on a closer. Only teams that think they can win should spend a lot of money on a closer.


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