The market for first basemen grew a little thinner Wednesday when the Seattle Mariners signed Corey Hart and traded for Logan Morrison. How that impacts the Rays remains to be seen and might be seen in short time.

Andrew Friedman, the team's executive vice president of baseball operations, said his search for a first baseman could soon be coming to an end.

The David Price Sweepstakes, though, could drag on for some time. Indications are the Rays are not close to a deal involving the ace left-hander.

Price's agent, Bo McKinnis, told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports on Wednesday morning that Price would not be interested in negotiating a long-term deal with the Mariners, believed to be the leading team to land Price. McKinnis told Rosenthal that Price would be open to such a deal with other teams. McKinnis declined further comment.

Since the Rays do not feel a dire need to move Price this offseason, Friedman can be patient until the best offer comes along.

Friedman's top priority this offseason is to find a first baseman, and he said Wednesday, the third day of the winter meetings, that he had a number of “mature conversations” with agents Tuesday night and all day Wednesday toward that end.

“I think each day that's gone on has kind of crystallized things for us a little bit more. I think that's one of the areas in the next few days something can happen,” Friedman said. “That said, it may drag on longer than that, but I think we've advanced the ball in some areas to potentially be in position to do something sooner rather than later.

“That said, it wouldn't be the first time we felt like things have gotten fairly close on deals that take longer to materialize, but there's at least been positive momentum.”

Friedman said he would be surprised if he didn't land a first baseman by the end of the month.

Friedman has gone the free-agent route to find his first basemen, something he said Tuesday works better for his low-revenue club.

Free agent James Loney, who enjoyed a breakout season with the Rays in 2012, is very much on the radar, though his reported asking price of at least $9 million a year for three years is too high. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers also are interested .