"In my opinion, it's a sleeping giant," Trammell said Friday after interviewing for the opening created last month when the Devil Rays agreed to buy out the final season of Lou Piniella's contract.
Trammell, fired last week after managing the Tigers for three seasons, met with Devil Rays executives Matthew Silverman and Andrew Friedman for more than four hours.
He's the fifth candidate to receive a formal interview and the first outside the Tampa Bay organization. Trammell also interviewed this week with Los Angeles Dodgers, who are replacing Jim Tracy.
The Devil Rays have also talked to three members of Piniella's staff -- John McLaren, Billy Hatcher and Tom Foley -- as well as the club's Triple-A affiliate manager, Bill Evers.
The team has contacted New York Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi and Atlanta Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton and scheduled interviews with them, too. Ken Macha is no longer a candidate after returning to the Oakland Athletics on Friday.
Whoever is hired will inherit a promising nucleus that includes outfielders Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and Jonny Gomes and pitchers Scott Kazmir and Seth McClung. The club's minor-league system is brimming with talent, too, led by top prospects Delmon Young and B.J. Upton.
Trammell likes the team's athleticism and was impressed with the 29-year-old Silverman and 28-year-old Friedman, who have taken on expanded roles since new principal owner Stuart Sternberg took over control of the team from Vince Naimoli last week.
"There's a lot of work to be done. They don't deny it," Trammell said, adding that the young Devil Rays executives have a plan to make the team successful and are confident it will work.
And Trammell, who was 186-300 in three seasons in Detroit, would like to be a part of it.
"They're a lot further along than the Tigers were when I took over in 2003. ... I'm not afraid to work," Trammell said. "I like working with young players."