The Rays Tank: The Trade Deadline Looms

July 28, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton (2) leads off from second base in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Here. We. Go. The MLB trade deadline is tomorrow afternoon, so this final day and a half should be -- correction: could be -- filled with considerable action. The Rays already made one minor deal this month in acquiring Ryan Roberts, and the rumors swirling around James Shields have been coming on a daily basis recently.

Of course, with the Rays, all rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. The Rays have a policy of never commenting publicly on potential trades or discussions, and they keep things well locked down. If there is a rumor about them, you can pretty much guarantee it started in another organization or is the product of guesswork, as Andrew Friedman reminded us all this weekend:

"We've been having a lot of different conversations with a lot of different teams, which is very typical for this time of year," Friedman said Saturday. "Our policy of not commenting publicly provides endless humor-filled fodder. A lot is made of things that are just not true.

"As always, we are looking for ways to positively impact our organization and make it better in the short term as well as the long term. If we're able to line up on a deal that does that, we're going to be very aggressive. As is customary this time of year, a lot of different things are being discussed, so it is difficult to accurately handicap the chances of a deal." (Tampa Bay Times)

The Rays remain tied with the Orioles at two games out of a Wild Card seat, but there are three teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. They'll have to knock off two out of the Tigers, Athletics, and Angels to make the postseason, but their odds are considerably better than they were at this point last season.

The closer we get to the deadline, the less likely it is that the Rays make another significant move. B.J. Upton might just get to finish up the year as a Ray, and we may get to enjoy the 1-2 punch of Shields and Price for a bit longer. If I had to make a guess, at this point I feel like the Rays are going to remain static and hope for a late-season surge as Longoria comes back and the team finally solidifies. I wouldn't be terribly happy about letting Upton walk for nothing, but hey, it's likely he wouldn't bring back much in a trade at this point anyway. (/let the rationalization begin)

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