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Tampa Bay Rumors: Rays Prepare For Winter Meetings; Hunting For DH, 1B

The Tampa Bay Rays have had a relatively busy November for them, signing free agent catcher Jose Molina and trading John Jaso to Seattle, but the offseason has only just begun. The Winter Meetings are happening next week, and Andrew Friedman spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon about his priorities.

You can find a full video of Friedman's comments over at the St. Petersburg Times. Here are the highlights:

  • The Rays' main priorities are to acquire a first baseman and DH. They have holes at both positions since Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon are both free agents, and while Friedman hasn't rules out bringing either of those players back, he is looking to improve at both positions and is keeping all his options open for now.
  • Friedman states the club will fill the shortstop position internally -- think a Sean Rodriguez / Reid Brignac platoon -- and that he doesn't intend to acquire another catcher this offseason. That means the Rays will likely enter the 2012 season with Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton as the two catchers on their roster.
  • The Rays are not looking to trade B.J. Upton, as they want to improve their offense from last season and replacing Upton's production would be difficult. Friedman also claims he does not intend to trade one of his starting pitchers, but I still believe this is more a negotiating tactic than anything. The Rays could improve their offense by trading one of their young starters like Wade Davis, and their rotation wouldn't suffer any as prospect Matt Moore is ready to play in the majors.

To join in the conversation about the Rays' offseason and potential moves, head over the SB Nation's blog on the Rays, DRaysBay.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.