A lot of team's covet the Devil Rays' stable of young talent, which could lead to any number of trade possibilities heading into this year's Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.
Look for the Rays' brain trust -- led by Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker, the executive and senior vice presidents of baseball operations, respectively -- to be in the market for bullpen help and on the lookout for a veteran starter to stabilize a young starting rotation. In the best-case scenario, they could fill those holes and grab a middle-of-the-order hitter by the time the meetings end Thursday.
2006 finish: 61-101, fifth place, American League East.
Deals so far: Re-signed utilityman Greg Norton to a one-year contract with a club option for 2008, and the Rays won the rights to negotiate with Japanese third baseman Akinori Iwamura.
Players eligible for arbitration: RHP Seth McClung; C Josh Paul; RHP Travis Harper; and INF/OF Ty Wigginton.
Free agents: None
Needs: The Rays' bullpen was the team's biggest weakness in 2005, ranking 27th in the Major Leagues with a 4.98 ERA. The bullpen allowed 15.01 baserunners per nine innings and a Major League-worst 113 of 283 (40 percent) inherited baserunners to score. In addition, the Rays could use a veteran starter to help out the young rotation, and they will also be searching for an established middle-of-the-order hitter.
Dealing strengths: The Rays have strength in the depth of their outfield, and the number of prospects in their swelling Minor League system ranked first by Baseball America. They could choose to deal Rocco Baldelli or Elijah Dukes, and still have a solid outfield containing Carl Crawford and Delmon Young.
With top prospect Evan Longoria (third base) knocking on the door, once highly touted B.J. Upton and even Jorge Cantu could be expendable.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.