A baseball season is basically three sets of 2 month stretches. First, you have Opening day and the start of the season. Lots of hope, a lot of things to learn about every team. The Rays did very well in this time, and proved through both eye test and all supporting metrics suggested not only were the Rays good but near elite.
Next comes the middle through the All Star break until the trade deadline. Thanks to some annoying scheduling and about a dozen rain postponed games, the Rays played basically 2 months without an off day (only slight exaggeration). The Rays faced some big injuries (as all teams do) and did not play up to the standards set from the 1st third of the season. They lost a ton of the ground they built, and after teams like Cleveland, Oakland, and Boston ran some frustrating .500 ball for the first two months, got hot and caught all the way up.
Now comes to where we are today. The trade deadline is 6 days away. Today is the day that generally kicks off the flurry of moves that makes up the trade deadline leading up to the actual final minutes themselves. The Rays got some bad news about the reigning Cy Young winner and ace of the staff, their young stud number 3 starter is still a question mark to return at all. The offense and bullpen have been sluggish the past two months. However, the team is still 1 GB from a Wild Card spot. They can make moves, and the schedule softens up considerably. Also, there are off days again!
The season may seem lost, and the past two months certainly seemed to erase all the good feeling of the first two months. But all 4 teams in neck and neck competition for the two AL Wild Card spots have flaws. There are two months left in this season and a lot of changes both on and off the field will probably happen before October rolls around.
If you want off the ride, now is the time. But then you’ll miss all the excitement (or horror).
- Rays pitcher Blake Snell to undergo elbow surgery, eyes September return - Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Rays: Topkin got some new quotes from GM Erik Neander about how the Rays will not be sellers at the deadline. Which, let’s be honest, anybody who has followed the Rays knows they weren’t going to sell. Also since there really isn’t much to sell if they wanted to sell (which again, they don’t).
- Here’s how Snell’s elbow surgery affects Rays - Juan Toribio, MLB.com: Of course the Snell injury could affect how the Rays approach the trade deadline, the willingness to buy rentals, and maybe shifting some vets out to open spots for younger talent either internally or externally.
- Rays are set to promote C Michael Perez, although still unsure if there is a corresponding move or just replacing Snell’s spot opened by the trip to the IL. Good chance we see more Travis d’Arnaud at 1B though, at least for the time being (and whether the next 6 days changes that).
- 2019 MLB Organization Talent Rankings - Baseball America: The Rays move into number 1 on BA’s rankings.
- The Red Sox were super upset and confused by Kevin Cash pulling off another waxahachie swap. Of course that may have been more Angel Hernandez doing his best to find new and exciting ways of making everybody hate him. Either way the threat of protest which wouldn’t have done anything and wasn’t going to work, was not filed.
- The Curious Case of the Rays’ Eighth Inning - Craig Edwards, Fan Graphs: Speaking of that waxahachie swap. . .