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Rays interested in Ian Desmond, but unwilling to part with draft pick

The Rays do have some interest in the free agent, but don't want to part with a draft pick to sign him.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays do have some interest in free-agent infielder Ian Desmond but giving up a draft pick to sign him presents a "huge obstacle" for the club, according to a major-league source. One source characterized a match between the sides as "unlikely" Tuesday night, despite recent reports that Desmond could sign with Tampa Bay as a result of a slow market for his services.

Tampa Bay would have to surrender the 13th-overall pick in next year's draft to sign Desmond, which would be hard for a small-market organization to be comfortable doing. The Rays have had a history of developing its best players as a result of the draft, meaning they are likely to hold onto their first-round selection.

If Desmond's market continues to be slow and the Rays are able to get a deal that they can not pass up, the club may decide that the addition of Desmond outweighs the cost of the lost draft pick. If Desmond remains a free agent after the draft in June, the Rays are likely to be very interested in signing him to a deal.

Tampa Bay currently has newcomer Brad Miller as its protected starting shortstop, though Miller's versatility would allow him to play elsewhere if the Rays were to add a shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera manned the position for the club last season, but has since signed with the Mets on a 2-year deal.