When asked about upgrading the offense, Andrew Friedman sounds confident that something will get done, and it could get done soon (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times)…

“We’re having a lot of conversations on both the trade front and also with free agents,” he said. “I’m confident that we’re going to end up with two hitters that will complement our existing offense and fit in very well. It’s very difficult to handicap the timing but I wouldn’t be surprised if something happened in the next couple weeks.”

Two possibilities are the return of Johnny Damon and/or Casey Kotchman. But as Topkin notes, bringing back both would not be the upgrade the team is seeking.

…realistically if the Rays are going to improve they’d have to upgrade at at least one of those positions, so at most only one would return.

That is fine by us. But at what cost and what type of upgrade? Are the Rays going to add a solid veteran bat with little downside? Or are they going to add a veteran bat with a lot of question marks (e.g. Eric Chavez)? And of course, the third possibility is to bring in a young hitter with a lot of upside, but without the guarantee that they are ready to produce in 2012.

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29 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    I'd prefer Damon.

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  2. Raysfan137 says:

    Sign 'Los for something with performance incentives, bring back Damon.

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    • angrybuddha says:

      I don't think performance incentives are allowed in MLB contracts. Johnny Damon had that attendance bonus built into his contract; and we've seen relievers with "games finished" bonuses... but not Saves.

      I don't know where the line is drawn, but I don't think you can pay-per-home run.

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      • Cork Gaines says:

        this is correct. the only incentives allowed are playing time incentives. There are ways around that. The "games finished" is one example, which is just a fancy way of rewarding players for saves. And A-Rod and Pujols both have incentives for breaking the all-time HR record. I'm not sure if they needed fancy wording to include those.

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  3. Jared says:

    Why is no one mentioning Derek Lee? Talk about adding a right handed bat and filling the void at first. Then add Vladdy!

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    • Joe says:

      What is 2 guys well passed their prime?

      I would love to see the wallets get dusted off for Konerko and we can bring back Damon.

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    • Raysfan137 says:

      I was in on Lee last year. But after seeing how much he missed from that foot injury, he's just too much risk. IMHO 'Los is a known quantity and safer. Would love to Konerko or another big name, but being realistic. Yeah, he Ks enough that I shout K-Los now and then. But he walks, has pop, and is still enough of a threat protect Evan. If we want righty help, what about Soriano and cash to Rays for prospects (Theo wants his farm back) ? Then we still sign JD and Kotch. JD and Alfonso platoon at DH.

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  4. Jared says:

    They aren't going to spend Konerko $$$ and I think Vladdy is a better DH on average and power than Damon. I was being reallistic for Rays baseball.

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    • Dave L says:

      I would love Vladdy too but he would blow the whole JoeMa team patience at the plate, take your walks, run up the pitch count, get to the shaky bullpen, kill their bullpen for game 3......

      And I don't know what our young hitters can learn from Vlad. you cant teach what he does

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  5. Sarah says:

    Is there any scenario in which it's already February and Prince Fielder hasn't gotten the offers he wants and agrees to a one year deal? Any scenario at all?

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    • Jared says:

      Not for the $3-5 million the Rays are willing to spend. Now if Fielder were smart and the Rays reallize they don't have Longoria much more they would try to sell Fielder on a 3 year deal to play for a contender around $57 million. Not likely though.

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    • Dave L says:

      Until he signs with somebody we can still dream about it Sarah, can you imagine our lineup would be magically transformed with Prince slotted in at 4 hole and longo fixed batting 3rd. Then I would be buying that #1 power ranking

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      • Sarah says:

        I see it like I see buying a lottery ticket. Until they actually report the winning numbers and I realize it's not me, I can dream about how I'd spend the money.

        So until Prince inks a contract elsewhere, in my mind he's the Ray's first baseman.

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  6. CC says:

    Hey Andrew, can't you talk your pal Stu into bringing in a couple of decent bats? This team is so close to a championship. Just think what a World Series ring would look like on your finger.

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  7. Tom says:

    I think they should try to get Murphy from the Mets for Davis, Fuld, and a minor leaguer and put Murphy at First then Trade Niemann and Barnese to the Cubs for Lahair and Soto. Sign Gomes to Platoon with Lahair at DH. You then have a Line Up of:

    Vs. Righties Vs. Lefties
    Jennings Jennings
    Murphy Upton
    Zobrist Zobrist
    Longoria Longoria
    Joyce Gomes
    Upton Murphy
    LaHair Ruggiano or Guyer
    Soto Soto
    Rodriguez Rodriguez

    Have Brignac and Molina and the 2 platoon players on the bench. This would be a huge offensive upgrade at catcher and Shortstop and they would also get solid production from 1B and DH.

    I am not sure how much the Mets would want for Murphy but they need pitching and seeing as how both of their corner outfielders are poor fielders they could use Fuld as a defensive replacement, Pinch-Hitter, Pinch-Runner as well as giving him an occasional spot start.

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  8. Tom says:

    I do not think Wade Davis is viewed by opposing GM's to be as valuable as you think he is.

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  9. Joe says:

    I'm gonna start a Prince Fielder chairty. Now we need about 200-250 million so everybody, we can't be too slow here. We are going to pay for Prince to be a Ray!

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  10. ttnorm says:

    Looking over the lists, I am thinking that the likely answer is 0 free agents. Which leaves trades and/or the best of Canzler/Vogt/Guyer.

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  11. Joe says:

    Boras saying Pena and Damon might return to the Rays? His thing is to say that "many teams are interested" maybe we will get 2 Boras clients, one being Damon yet again.

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    • Jared says:

      If we sign Pena and Damon, what do we do with our 9 starting pitchers? Doesn't make sense a trade is definately happening before the season starts. I still see Trumbo in baby blue next year on Sundays.

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  12. Jared says:

    Just read an article on MLBtraderumors that says Rays are interested in Luke Scott. Is there any way we can form a petition to prevent this from happening? We don't need this backwoods hillbilly racist in our clubhouse.

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    • RedBull says:

      Couldn't agree more with you. This guy his scum, from everything I've heard.

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      • Sarah says:

        I don't like his views, and honestly every time he opens his mouth he makes clear what an idiot he is. But....if baseball teams only signed guys with sensible political views we'd be looking at some pretty thin teams. I'd avoid him if his loud mouth would be fomenting tensions within the clubhouse, but at least from what I've read his teammates manage to tolerate him without any problems. So if he's really our answer to the DH conundrum, then sign him.

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        • Jared says:

          Politics are one thing. I can understand having differing politcal views, but Scott is flat out racist. We can't have that.

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          • Beth says:

            To me it's an issue if it causes tension with African American and Latino teammates -- but unless it's been swept under the rug, that doesn't seem to be the case.

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  13. Don says:

    Boras pitching Damon as 3rd best DH in AL, Kotchman is probably 2/3 best 1B baseman, these are the positions we are worried about??? we have the two worst hitting SS in AL, and Two minor league catchers that won't out hit Shopp. .. Could we please get some help where we need it??

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