Marc Topkin reports that the Rays are still interested in Brian Fuentes and that the Matt Garza deal may have freed up money for signing Fuentes.

The Rays continue to show interest in free agent left-handed closerBrian Fuentes, though nothing appears imminent. The salary freed up in the Garza deal might help them bolster the bullpen.

The Rays are just one of several teams interested in Fuentes. And while he may like the idea of closing for the Rays as opposed to setting up for another team, this will still come down to money. But with a projected payroll of just $33.3 million right now, Fuentes seems more realistic.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Here is a look at what the Rangers offered the Rays for Matt Garza, which ironically, would have also included Robinson Chirinos. [ESPN Dallas]
  • Our hope for the Rays signing Jim Thome just took a hit as now the Rangers are reportedly showing interest. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Jason Bartlett signed a 2-year, $11 million extension. We had Bartlett projected at $5.5 million in arbitration this year, so that is right on target. [The Heater]
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America says Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee would be among the Rays top 10 prospects, but neither would crack the top 3. [Baseball America]
  • According to John Sickels, the Rays now have 2 of the top 6 pitching prospects in baseball and 4 of the top 33. In total, the Rays have the second most valuable collection of prospects. [Minor League Ball]
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    12 Comments

    1. Tone says:

      I would rather have Soriano back instead of Fuentes, even if Soriano cost a couple million more. It would make sense to sign both Soriano and Balfour again if they cared about winning some games NOW. Having both of them would put the bullpen back to being top notch and with how much money they cut it would still be possible to sign Vlad. I want Vlad, Balfour, and Soriano. If that happens, I would feel much better about baseball in 2011. Giving Fuentes multiple years seems terrible to me, Soriano is a thousand times better and has a better future.

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      • Gus says:

        100% correct; let's stick to quality in the one position you cannot scrimp on. 2007-09 showed us that thrifty bullpens can't lead to needless stress and ultimately kill a team sometimes (would the Rays have won the 2008 World Series with a legit bullpen that gets them out of Boston in Game 5? We'll never know.)

        Fuentes is better than nothing, but stick with Soriano if at all possible. It seems like he's lost his leverage in the market and his best year was in Tampa Bay. You could sign him and still be $30M under your 2010 payroll and still have a chance to win.

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        • Joe says:

          I appreciate your kind words about me. I have thought this way about this regime for quite a long time, even as they win. I abhor and categorically reject this philosophy because it puts a number on the market. I feel with comments made by the owner and true feelings being conveyed, that this man finally is being exposed in a way no matter how he may be protected as a master shell game player. It's all about arbitration manipulation and maneuvering and posturing all in the name of "business". Fans are smarter than what they lead on and Stu either is naieve to it, is being told something else, or is that arrogant to push his philosophy over the top.

          All I want is accountability, plain and simple.

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      • phil says:

        Fuentes $5M sorriano is looking for $11/12M

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    2. Don says:

      OFF THE SUBJECT: But if you want to read an article from someone that UNDERSTANDS the local stadium situation....Read in yesterdays St. Pete times 01/10/11, Page 13A, Roy Peter Clark's Article "It's NOT the Stadium"
      He understands... but of cousre he is not a member of the local sports media!
      One Quote: "It ain't the bus. Its us" worth the read!

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      • Gus says:

        This Bucs season is pretty tough to explain if you are a Tampa baseball supporter.

        In all my years of watching the Bucs, that was the most entertaining and enjoyable team to watch, with the possible exception of the 2002 Super Bowl team (and they were still frustrating because the offense wasn't really good until the playoffs). To be in a newish stadium with a good team in good weather and maybe have 30,000 in the facility was kind of depressing, but the owners have priced themselves out of this market.

        The Rays had a chance coming off of 3 winning seasons to really make baseball take hold in the market as it has never before; instead they wisper to Gammons that it is the ballpark's fault, and St. Pete is to blame, etc. It is a tough market to do business in right now, for sure, but it will come back. But kicking an area when it is down from the comfort of Rye, NY or Greenwich or wherever Sternberg lives is just the worst kind of rich picking on the good people of Tampa-St. Pete who aren't that wealthy but love their baseball team. Sternberg hit the lottery in his time on Wall Street and for that he gets to run a baseball team that throws off nice returns (albeit not showered in cash like the Mets or Yankees). For that he should be eternally greatful.

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        • Joe says:

          The Peter Gammons end of it with a sprinkle of Ken Rosenthal is what brought my dander up.

          The market is indeed tough, but this is where the owner and management team had to be tougher. But no matter what anyone may try to spin and say, they raised the white flag.

          Case in point, why didn't the Rays trade Carl Crawford prior to the 2010 season? Of course, they are trying to "win" but wouldn't the return on the trade and trade package be one, better than Garza's return and two, better than a compensatory pick and Boston's 1st round pick? The "smart" move was to trade Crawford and get the haul. People who love the frugality can't have it both ways. There is simply a price to pay for production. You can't run a Ford Focus like a Cadillac CTS. The Rays want a lot and pay little, and when its time to pay (after arbitration is exhausted/or player demands too high) then player is traded.

          It's too bad games are not played in the pages of Baseball America or Baseball Digest. Rays would be hands down World Series champs every year. Can't be afraid of money or talking your market down. It's not fair.

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    3. Brixology says:

      So Barnese is out of Callis' top ten? Maybe it's nitpicking, but I would have him ahead of McGee.

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    4. Alex says:

      Soriano is more concerned with money than winning....

      From MLBtraderumors.com

      ""Rafael Soriano is prioritizing money over his 2011 role, Olney writes. Olney suggests that “if some club was willing to pay him to be its bullpen catcher for $45MM over the next three years, Soriano would consider it.”"

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    5. werD says:

      as to the rangers package, i have a hard time believing their offer was in any way, shape, or form, better than the Cubs. i am a big rangers fan as well, and can tell you that Derek Holland would not have been an upgrade over any of the 5 pitchers the rays will trot out on April 1st. Francisco is a MAJOR headcase, and would be just another arm for the pen, at best. The young outfielder, Beltre is Fernando Perez part II, and something the Rays obviously didnt want, or need. Chorinos = push. once again, i am impressed with the haul of young prospects the Rays got for a #3 or 4 pitcher.

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