The Major League Baseball winter meetings have kicked off this week with lots of rumors and speculation circling around the Tampa Bay Rays. National writers have mentioned some possible deals that the Rays may soon find themselves involved in and they’re hard to ignore. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Monday evening the Rays are in pursuit of shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Miami Marlins to be their everyday shortstop. The 30-year old Escobar has a .282 career batting average with on on-base percentage of .353. The Rays have needed a consistent infielder for quite some time. Minor leaguer Tim Beckham was to be the young shortstop of the future but has been unable to live up to expectations since being drafted in 2008. A move like acquiring Escobar would sure up the shortstop position with a veteran infielder that still displays good range covering grounders. In some even bigger news, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting Tuesday the Rays may very well part with one of their stud arms in the rotation. He also went as far as saying the team has opened up to the idea of trading away a pitcher, primarily David Price: Their people conceded their chances to lock up Price beyond his current contract are nil considering he’s easily a $25 million-plus pitcher now, even if Greinke doesn’t hit the $25 million mark. Tampa can’t have one player consuming more than a third of its payroll. The report also mentions James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as other trade possibilities. But as of now, the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers have been the only two confirmed to have reach out to the Rays regarding James Shields. The Rays have an incredible amount of pitching both in the majors and the minors. Trading away a pitcher for offense will be beneficial to the team. And with Executive Vice President of Operations Andrew Friedman saying they need to “stop taking the safe route,” it sounds like the team may be more aggressive this offseason. More honors for Rodney Major League Baseball gave out it’s ultimate honors awards on Tuesday. Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney won MLB’s closer of the year. Rodney saved 48 out of a possible 50 games during 2012. He also posted a 0.60 ERA with 76 strikeouts. The post Rays are a hot topic at MLB’s winter meetings appeared first on The Bay Cave.