Patience has become the buzzword of the Rays' offseason.
Team officials continue to explore different combinations of moves but have yet to do anything to address their top priority of improving their offense -- specifically filling holes at first base and designated hitter -- and apparently are comfortable heading into January without pulling the trigger.
The Rays' lack of activity in the free agent market (aside from signing veteran backup catcher Jose Molina), is understandable as they typically have to wait for prices to drop. Last year they signed DH Johnny Damon and outfielder Manny Ramirez in January.
"We're not in the right revenue environment to be able to not be patient," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
Trades are more viable, but the Rays -- who have the rare commodity of available young starting pitching (such as Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann) -- have thus far been willing to wait as well. Friedman, who made a big deal with the Cubs for Matt Garza last January, said that can work to the Rays' advantage as more opportunities present themselves.
"It can be very valuable to wait," Friedman said, "so it's not all bad."
With some room for growth in their payroll (which was only $41 million last season) and attractive trade chips, the Rays -- at some point -- figure to get busy.
"Once the first domino falls, it will certainly limit the scope for us," Friedman said. "Right now, we have so many different ways we can go, we're trying to figure out which way to go and where to lock in first."
--RHP Andy Sonnanstine wasn't surprised to be let go by the Rays after appearing in only 15 games and spending the second half of last season in the minors, but leaving his original organization to sign with the Cubs provided some perspective. "Switching ballclubs seems to be a growing part of our business these days," Sonnanstine told the St. Petersburg Times. "I will always look back fondly upon my memories with the Tampa Bay Rays. As I look forward, I am excited about new opportunities on the horizon."
--RHP Joel Peralta didn't pitch in winter ball in his native Dominican Republic at the request of the Rays, agent Mark Gilling said. Peralta is working out daily and has lost some weight from last season.
--C/DH Jorge Posada is being considered by the Rays, his father told ESPNDeportes.com, but their interest is likely more as a backup plan if other options don't work out. Given the premium the Rays put on defense and Posada's deteriorating skills behind the plate and lack of range at first base, the veteran's only role with them would seem to be as a part-time DH.
--1B Casey Kotchman and DH Johnny Damon remain in free agent limbo, under consideration to return to the Rays but seemingly as fallback options if Tampa Bay can't improve elsewhere. Both said they enjoyed the 2011 season and are interested in returning.
--OF Todd Glaesmann's stint in the Australian Baseball League ended a few days earlier than planned due to a right wrist injury, but the Rays expect him to be ready for spring training. Glaesmann, 21, hit a combined .227/.295/.328 with 12 stolen bases in 74 games in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and for low Class A Bowling Green.
--Neil Allen, who took over as the pitching coach at Class AAA Durham last season, interviewed for the Boston job that eventually went to Bob McClure.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6 -- Players left with the Rays from their 2008 World Series roster after the departure of Andy Sonnanstine: J.P. Howell, Evan Longoria, David Price, James Shields, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "My favorite memory as a Tampa Bay Ray was during Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS when the final out was made. It was the most intense and joyful moment of my life." -- RHP Andy Sonnanstine, upon signing with the Cubs.