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Trade-wise, Rays aggressive yet responsible

Trade-wise, Rays aggressive yet responsible

ST. PETERSBURG -- The week leading up to the Trade Deadline is always busy for Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, and this year has been no exception.

Friedman discussed the team's approach to the July 31 Trade Deadline on Monday, stressing once again that Tampa Bay will aggressively seek out deals that benefit the club. But, he added, the Rays' front office isn't itching to make a trade simply for the sake of making a trade.

"We're working hard not to create the illusion of that player and make sure that it's someone we really want," Friedman said. "There are certain guys who fit that description, and hopefully we'll be able to do something that makes us better.

"You have to fight a little bit of that this time of year -- the emotions involved with doing something like that in the middle of the year. It's easy to not let emotions get involved in the offseason, but when you're mired in it and playing games on a daily basis, it's a lot harder to do that. Our approach then, and our approach now, is to be aggressive and understand that we're giving up long-term value to get short-term value, but doing that in as responsible of a manner as possible."

Friedman said the club was focused solely on adding players who can immediately provide a meaningful impact, and any potential depth issues are more likely to be dealt with in August than July. On the other hand, he said, the Rays are looking to keep their options open and trying not to focus on only one specific player or type of player.

"I guess there are certain areas that are more ideal than others, but it's too hard to find really good players that can really impact your team such that we aren't as limiting," Friedman said. "If you start narrowing it down to, 'It has to be this position and this handedness and this type of profile,' you end up where you potentially have one or zero targets, and that makes the chances of a deal that much more difficult."

Another factor allowing the Rays to focus on a higher-caliber addition, Friedman said, is the wealth of talent in the club's Minor League system. Players like pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, outfielder Desmond Jennings and infielder Dan Johnson can provide additional depth later in the season, freeing up Friedman to seek out a true impact player.

"I think we have really good players in Triple-A that I wouldn't be surprised if they help us win games in 2010. Whether it's in September or in August, I don't know that yet," Friedman said. "We'll get through this Trade Deadline and assess the depth that we have and how it may fit for us going forward."

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