Lots of talk, no moves for D-Rays

Danys Baez, Aubrey Huff and Julio Lugo stay with Tampa Bay.

Published: Monday, August 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2005 at 1:15 a.m.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar doesn't regret not making a deal before Sunday's non-waiver trade period.

The Devil Rays held extensive discussions with the New York Mets and Boston before the deadline and were involved in the talks that centered on a possible three-way deal that would have sent Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez to the Mets.

Tampa Bay's three most sought-after players - closer Danys Baez, outfielder Aubrey Huff and shortstop Julio Lugo - all remained in Tampa Bay.

``I had talks with the Mets concerning both Danys Baez and Julio Lugo. I had discussions with Boston about Aubrey Huff,'' LaMar said Sunday. ``And those talks individually weren't really going anywhere, so we met for three hours a couple days ago as a baseball staff and came up with this proposal knowing what we knew about Manny and his situation of possibly going to the Mets. Because we had discussions with those two teams, we thought there may be a chance to make a blockbuster deal and sort of be a part of that kind of deal.''

LaMar was looking for top level prospects, and said he made it clear from that start that there would be no deal involving the Devil Rays without them.

``For me to move all three of those players in this deal, I have to have a package not only numbers wise but quality of prospects back that would serve our organization moving forward,'' LaMar said. ``Conceptually, that's about as close as it got.''

``We asked Boston for two very good prospects coming back and at the end of the day Boston said no. For us to be looked upon as we pulled the plug on this deal, there was a lot of moving parts. The Mets were giving up a guy that they didn't want to give up. Boston was going to give up a couple kids that they didn't too. At the end of the day, Boston made the decision that Manny Ramirez was going no where. We told both teams right off the bat that if we didn't get the prospects we wanted, there was no way we would ever do the deal.''

For all the talk about New York making a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline, the team ended up staying pat Sunday, with general manager Omar Minaya saying the team he spent a lot of money putting together last winter should still be good enough to make a run at the playoffs.

``The important thing is to get better with the guys we have,'' Minaya said. ``I think that we are equipped to do that. Things can change pretty fast and we haven't had too many good weeks yet.''

Minaya did look into things. He just didn't find anything he liked, at least not yet. Players can still be dealt after the deadline, providing they clear waivers first.

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella was pleased that his team remained intact.

``From my standpoint, I'm happy that we kept our players here,'' Piniella said. ``Gives us a chance to finish up as strong as we can. Chuck worked hard, and certainly he had the best interests of this organization in mind. Let's see if we can win as many ballgames as we can and turn our season around.''

The Devil Rays completed a four-game sweep over Kansas City on Sunday, part of an 8-2 homestand.

``Absolutely, I'm happy (about staying),'' Huff said. ``We're starting to pull up some wins. We're having a good time now that we're playing better baseball.''

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