The club also maintains interest in Aubrey Huff, and Beattie spoke with Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMarr yesterday. The Devil Rays have inquired about reliever B.J. Ryan.
My ears perk up at both names. I've gone on and on about liking Huff, but I'm a Ryan fan, too, considering him to be one of the elite relievers in baseball. A Huff-Ryan swap doesn't make much sense from Tampa Bay's perspective. They may be justified in their Ryan lovin', but they really aren't in a position to trade a large chunk of offense for some help in the bullpen.
The Cubs can offer Tampa a package that makes much more sense. The Rays need young starting pitching that is years from free agency and big paychecks. Ryan, I believe, is a free agent in 2006, so he fills neither bill.
I'd start a package with a choice of Mitre, Wellemeyer, or Leicester, assuming Mitre is the most desirable morsel. Any of the three could step right into Tampa's rotation, even if none of them have a huge upside. You'd also need to include a premium prospect, with only Brian Dopirak, Felix Pie, and Ryan Harvey as untouchable. Angel Guzman, who--mind you--I really like, would probably do the trick. Would that be enough?
And hey, if the Rays really insisted on getting a reliever who's close to free agency... well, the Cubs have one that I'm sure fans (both human and electric) wouldn't mind passing along.