My apologies for not posting this sooner, a couple of things caused me to fall behind and not spend time on this (personal issues, family issues, the discovery that the game had no idea how to handle the draft properly, etc.), and also if I'm honest, not much has happened in game since the last post (I'm about a week behind at the moment, but should be caught back up to present day within the next few days). To start off with, I went with Option 4 from the previous poll to solve my rotation problem as per the community's vote, helped by Morton hitting the the IL for 2 weeks at a very opportune time. We've gotten into a bit of a slump (still in 1st though, 54-24 as of June 23th), but there hasn't been a telltale weakness that needs to be addressed; some losses have been on the offense not scoring, some on the pitching staff not holding leads. I'm guessing/hoping that means I shouldn't have to do anything drastic to course-correct; at the very least, I finally have my entire starting lineup and rotation together at the same time, with Choi, Snell, Kiermaier, Chirinos, and Glasnow all back. Kiermaier in particular has been a godsend lately, currently slashing 0.339/0.412/1.073 in 136 PAs since coming back from the IL (20 singles, 12 doubles, and 9 homeruns).
As such, I now turn my attention to the trade deadline, which is the subject for today's poll. I'm not going to ask about specific players (since that would be a bit too complicated) but more overall strategy. I have 2 options to go with: long-term upgrades, or short-term upgrades; I'm not really worrying about position, since at this point I'm mostly looking at marginal improvements. First, an overview of the main positions of weakness more or less:
Catcher - This is a bit less pressing than earlier, since, while Zunino is still only hitting about .150 with a sub .600 OPS, Chris Herrmann has come back from a sizable slump with a vigor, tallying several multi-hit games to push his OPS back over 0.720. Still, an improvement could definitely be made.
Third base - Yandy has unfortunately been a disappointment (sub .700 OPS most of the season), and Wendle has been below average defensively and only average with the bat (around .750-760 OPS, mostly through singles and doubles). I'm gonna try Tsutsugo there for a bit to see if that'll cover things, but we'll see.
Right-handed hitting - Jose Martinez has been dismal (another sub .600 OPS), and Hunter Renfroe has surprisingly done nearly all of his considerable damage against righties only. Margot, Robertson, Brosseau, Zunino, and Adames have all also been average at best, leaving me a bit weak against lefties, though several of my lefty hitters have picked up the slack rather well.
The pros of long-term acquisitions is that it will help me clear out the farm system a bit (I have more quality prospects who need playing time than starting spots to put them in atm) as well as the 40-man roster, which is very full and has several guys that need to go on it soon, and it'll give me greater stability going into the offseason. The cons are that they are more expensive (both prospect cost and monetary cost), and there really aren't many who are both potentially available (within reason, so no one off contending teams) and performing better than what I have, which means, if their performance doesn't improve, it'll probably be more of a future buy than an immediate improvement. Potential candidates: Whit Merrifield, Aaron Nola (maybe), Ryan McMahon, Victor Caratini, Willson Contreras, Brian Anderson, Brandon Belt, Josh Bell, Drew Steckenrider.
The pros of the short-term options are that they are obviously short term only, so I have flexibility if they don't work out, and they should cost much less. The con is, again, they are only short term, so those positions are potential issues for me going into the offseason, and it won't solve my organization crowding problem. Potential candidates: James McCann, CJ Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Robinson Chirinos, Hunter Pence.
So there are your options. I'll leave the poll up longer this time, since I think it timing out locked the comments as well. The Rays don't really have a set trade deadline strategy of late, so I don't have that to fall back on, but I trust the community will have some useful thoughts. I should have another post or two up in the next few days, recapping some of my favorite games so far this season. Once again, any questions, thoughts, general opinions are very much welcome down in the comments.