As the calendar shifts from June to July, we are entering what will likely be the most interesting month of the 2010 season. After a disastrous month of June, the Rays still find themselves very much in the American League hunt despite a third place standing in the East.
In addition to the team's play on the field, they will be heavily involved in rumors off of it. Since they began contending in 2008, the Rays have been rumored to be "in" on such names as Adam Dunn, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Xavier Nady, and Jason Bay just to name a few. Of course, we know they did not acquire any of those players - although for a minute Jason Bay was a Ray - and instead ended up with Chad Bradford and Gregg Zaun.
This year, expect more of the same from a rumors standpoint as well as the team's approach to the non-waiver deadline and beyond.
For the most part, our focus the last few years has been on more impact-type guys before the deadline," Friedman said. "And after the deadline, we've kind of focused on acute needs. Not necessarily big-ticket guys, but guys that we were able to plug into our existing group that we felt like improved us around the margins. So I would imagine that that will be our approach again this year."
Those are the words of Andrew Friedman from Raysbaseball.com. There is really no surprise there. The Rays will no doubt inquire on most available players as they should. That said, it wouldn't surprise any of us if no move was made until August.
If the Rays are going to make a deal, it will be on their terms. A deal that provides value not only now, but in future seasons. They will also resist the temptation of mortgaging those future seasons by overpaying for the present.
With that, be prepared for another emotional roller coaster July. One day we will be seriously interested in Cliff Lee and not involved in any talks the next. Adam Dunn will be a trade target on Monday and off the team's radar by Tuesday. 99% of talks will be in fact just that...talk.
I leave you with two things to remember as we head into this action packed month:
1) The Rays move in silence. Whether it is contract negotiations, extensions, or trades, the Rays have an uncanny ability to keep information close to the chest. The move that no one is talking about or no one is expecting is the move they are likely to make.
2) Any impact player acquired by Andrew Friedman at the deadline would be his first. Friedman will tell you himself that he's called on most or all the names mentioned above. However, he has yet to acquire a big name mid-season. He was a big player in past deadlines, but in the role of seller. Knowing how much value Friedman places on...well...value, you can see where it is hard to find the right deal when you are the prospective buyer in such a fast moving, ever changing environment. Meanwhile, if a deal is there to be made that provides value and upgrades the team, he will make it.
Get your popcorn ready. And your grains of salt too.