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Rays still in the market for first baseman

MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Finding a first baseman continued to be a pursuit for the Rays as Day 3 of baseball's Winter Meetings drew to a close at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort on Wednesday.

"I feel like last night and today were productive," Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "... I think each day that's gone on has kind of crystallized things a little more. I think that's one of the areas in the next few days where something could happen. That said, it may drag on longer than that. But I think we've advanced the ball in some areas to potentially do some things sooner than later."

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Finding a first baseman continued to be a pursuit for the Rays as Day 3 of baseball's Winter Meetings drew to a close at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort on Wednesday.

"I feel like last night and today were productive," Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "... I think each day that's gone on has kind of crystallized things a little more. I think that's one of the areas in the next few days where something could happen. That said, it may drag on longer than that. But I think we've advanced the ball in some areas to potentially do some things sooner than later."

Friedman noted that if something did not get done in the next couple of days, they have at least made "positive momentum" and he said he would be surprised if they did not have a first baseman by the end of December.

Two potential first-base candidates landed with the Mariners on Wednesday, as they signed Corey Hart to a one-year, $6 million deal and traded right-hander Carter Capps to the Marlins for Logan Morrison.

Last year's first baseman, free agent James Loney, is reportedly looking for a three-year deal in the neighborhood of $30 million. If Loney's demands somehow drop to where Tampa Bay could afford him, there is little doubt the club would like to have him back.

Joe Maddon told reporters that he called Loney after the Gold Glove Awards were announced and Loney did not win. The Rays manager said he wanted to let Loney know that he thought he should have won.

Maddon and the Rays love Loney's defense, and his offense is of the ilk that fits Tampa Bay's model. The Pirates and Brewers are said to be interested in Loney as well.

If Loney isn't the Rays' guy, don't look for a Ben Zobrist move to first. Maddon dismissed that possibility, which means Tampa Bay will have to acquire its first baseman via trade or free agency.

There have been rumors that the Rays are interested in free agent Mark Reynolds, but even though he has power, he's more of a free swinger than what Tampa Bay has had in the past. As for potential trade candidates, the Rays have been mentioned as suitors for Ike Davis of the Mets and Mitch Moreland of the Rangers.

"We want somebody who can play over there," Maddon said. "We need somebody who can play first base well. We just have to. There's no getting around that."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Ike Davis, James Loney, Mark Reynolds