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The Milton Bradley to Rays trade has seemed like it was on the verge of going down for weeks. And now, subsequent to the Winter Meetings, the Rays appear to be the only public suitor left for Bradley’s unique brand of services.

But the Rays sure don’t sound like they’re in any hurry to make a move.

“I’m not going to talk about trade things that are out there,” [the Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman] said. “Our focus is on continuing to make this 2010 team better. It’s going to take a little more creativity and our focus is still on doing that. I think there’s definitely a chance for the most part this is the team we go into April with. That being said, five days ago I didn’t think we’d end up with Rafael Soriano.”

When asked it he would have to cut corners now, Friedman said, “I think at this point we have what we have unless something makes sense. We’re not going to go out there trying to force something. If something presents itself that makes sense it’s not going to be done purely to move money right now. If something makes sense for us to do otherwise than it’s something to explore, but I think we’ve made this more with the mind if the season started tomorrow than we feel really good about this team, and feel, at least on paper in the middle of December, is the best team we’ve had. That obviously doesn’t guarantee you anything especially in this division, but we feel really good about our bullpen in terms of it actually being strength for us and we felt like that was an area that we needed to be aggressive to target.” TBO.com Blogs .

Translation: we would take Bradley as an upgrade over Burrell for even money, but we have no need to take on any of Bradley’s extra 2011 money.

Ruh roh.

Now, of course the Rays are going to say things like that. When it comes down to it, would they require that the Cubs eat ALL of Bradley’s 2011 salary? Probably not. But right now, they’re the only shopper in the butcher shop, and the veal is going bad.

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