As the team has continued its success into July, the Rays name seems to find its way into more and more trade rumors. Every year you see teams that are making deadline moves to bolster themselves for a late-summer playoff run. With the Rays playing like they are, everyone is waiting to see what moves go down. I just wonder whether or not it is really necessary to make a deal.
Quite often in deadline deals you will see teams trading for bullpen help. After watching the Rays this season, do we really need to add any more arms to our bullpen. Even with Percival and Reyes out, we still have quite the formidable pen. Grant Balfour has come up from AAA and brought his success along with him. You also have to consider what we could get in return for our bullpen and at what cost. To add another big stopper to the bullpen, it is going to cost the Rays some of our farm depth, which we hold like Frodo and the ring. Would anyone we trade for really be an improvement over the likes of a Wade Davis, David Price, or Mitch Talbot?
I have also heard the idea floated around that we could use the help of a veteran starter to hold down the back end of our rotation. While the back of our rotation could possibly use some help, they have still been doing a good job thus far. With Garza coming on strong, this gives us a very solid 1,2,3 rotation to take into the playoffs, if the situations arises. Jackson and Sonnanstine have had their ups and downs, but as a pair have been above-average 4 and 5 pitchers. You also have to consider the possibility of seeing Price or Davis being added to the rotations late in the season. If Price continues to pitch like he has, he would most likely be an upgrade or equal in value to nearly anyone we would acquire. More importantly, it would allow the team to not shell out any of the guarded farm depth.
Position wise the team has been solid everywhere from 1-9. The one area where we could use help is possibly in the outfield. The need for a right-handed bat has become more and more clear. However, I do not think the situation is as pressing as it is made out to be. As I have noted in the past, we have received some of best production from the RF/DH slots. An upgrade for Gomes could definitely be found on the market, but we have to be cautious to not give up too much for a minimal upgrade. If the Rays do make a trade, this is where I feel they should look to upgrade, but they have to keep their eye on the future at all times.
I have read and heard many times that the Rays have to make a move and take advantage of their depth in the farm system. I think the best way to take advantage of our depth is to hold on to it and not share it with anyone else. If they can make a deal that improves the team by not risking any major assets, then they should absolutely make it. They should not make a deal just because they are in a playoff race. The team as is has won 52 games before Independence Day, and I think they have been doing just fine with the guys they've got.