Coming off a series against the worst team in baseball, the Rays were only able to win one game of three against the Phillies, dropping the third in the tenth inning.
At the start of the series in Philadelphia, Rays principle owner Stu Sternberg spoke with the media and said the team would not be buyers. He also said the Rays could "absolutely" be sellers:
"Right now, even though we might not be performing as we'd like to be, or as others would like us to be, I can't point to anything so glaring, or any of our players so glaring, that we could, or would, replace them...
"People say, 'Buyer? Seller?' It will be no different than we've done in years past," he said. "I think we're in almost precisely the same spot we've been in every year since '08. Which is, we're close, we feel we have a really good team. We'd like to see our team on the field all at once. And we'll try to be opportunistic."
He also said they "absolutely" could trade away pieces if they were to drop out of the race over the next 10 days, but "we're anticipating that we're going to be in the hunt come the end of July."
If the Rays are going to be "in the hunt" but aren't planning on being buyers, that just means they'll stand pat.
This is not as fun, but if the Rays truly aren't inclined to do anything at the trade deadline, perhaps they could promote from within to mix things up a bit.
Richie Shaffer - Photo Credit: Jim Donten
I'm starting to worry that Joey Butler was a flash in the pan that was just fun while it lasted.
Including the All-Star break is hitting .200 for the month of July, and that's with selective use in the line up. Maybe it's time we switch his bat out for something more palpable.
Former first round draft choice Richie Shaffer has 23 home runs in the minors, following a particularly incredible night of two extra base hits, two walks, and a stolen base. His experience is limited to first and third, so he's a DH candidate unless the Rays pull the chute on James Loney, but that's a less likely scenario. It would be inventive for the Rays to move a proven glove for value, but despite the 1B need on the market this deadline, that's not characteristic of the franchise.
An argument against promoting Shaffer? Money. I understand if management sees Shaffer as legitimate prospect and therefore doesn't want to start his options until next season, but why waste time if the Rays are truly competitive today? Shaffer's only road to the majors is to force his way into the conversation, and in that regard he's already done his part.
As an alternative to Shaffer, it's worth mentioning that J.P. Arencebia has 20 HR himself. I'll take either, and when we only have a week to decide if we are buying or selling, let's not waste any further time. If the scouting department approves, it might be that simple.
Andrew Bellatti - Photo Credit: Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports
Furthermore, the likes of Andrew Bellatti's slider should have been back with the major league club yesterday, and the same could be said for a possibly healthy Kirby Yates, or lefty-maybes Enny Romero and C.J. Riefenhauser. They are all sitting in Durham while Brandon Gomes continues to waste major league opportunities. There's more to that story, but if you missed yesterday's game, you might already feel this way about Brandon Gomes.
If a reliever can't hold their own as league average, it's time to cycle through again. The Rays were successful earlier this season when the bus seats were warm. Why stop now?
Slight improvements over decision making in depth are probably not going to contribute several WAR to the team, but I do think it could be the edge in winning or losing a game, as we saw on Wednesday afternoon.
When it comes down to one run in extra innings, those sorts of personnel decisions must be perfect to achieve that famed Extra 2%.