ST. PETERSBURG - OCTOBER 03: Infielder Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays fouls off a pitch against the Texas Rangers during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Here's the latest out of Tampa Bay, where Buster Olney ranks the team best overall (with the obvious "if they're healthy" caveat), potential trades with the Angels are proposed/speculated, Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times looks at potential moves including bringing back Carlos Pena (among others), and the fans at D Bay review the moves of 2011:
Olney say the Rays are the best team in baseball - ESPN (Insider)
"Look, the limitations for the Rays are inherent within the confines of their relatively miniscule payroll. A major injury to one of their core position players -- Longoria or Ben Zobrist -- would be crushing. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will probably add more before the trade deadline than the Rays, as they usually do. But the Rays' starting pitching makes them extremely dangerous, and as we sit here on New Year's Day 2012, the best team in the majors."
Possible Rays/Angels Trade? - BostonHerald.com
"They’ll need to do so again this winter, but they’re at least dealing from a position of strength. The Rays have, without question, the deepest assemblage of young pitching in the game, and they’ll be trading an arm or two from their arsenal this winter to address an offense that scuffled for most of last year."
Coming weeks get interesting for Tampa Bay Rays - Tampa Bay Times | Mark Topkin
"There's a chance the Rays end up filling the two lineup spots with complementary pieces, but it seems more likely one is of some repute. 1B Carlos Peña is probably the biggest free agent bat still available after Prince Fielder, with Vlad Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Hideki Matsui and Luke Scott (coming off injury) among others."
A Look Back at Last Years Post New Years Rays Roster Moves - DRaysBay
"We all know about the trials and tribulations of the 2011 regular season. Hopefully, the Rays will continue to acquire either through trade, free agency, or minor league signings the same sort of depth and production they received from the 2011 crop of players picked up after the ball dropped ending 2010."
Ryan Theriot Rumors: Braves, Rays, Mets Interested - MLB Daily Dish
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Mets are among teams interested in free-agent Ryan Theriot. It was reported earlier in the week the Colorado Rockies had interest in Theriot's services, as well.