SEATTLE - JULY 31: Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by teammates after scoring on a single by Casey Kotchman #11 in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 31, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Since the All Star Break the Rays have made zero trades and lost 10 games. Is the season over?
The Rays traded no one. All that hype. A collection of great relievers, a famous bat, a young outfielder and six starting pitchers with friendly contracts. The deadline was 4:00 pm EST on Sunday and the Rays made no moves.*
Where was Andrew Friedman in all of this?? Where was our beloved VP of Baseball?
Oh, getting an appendectomy?? And he didn't stop working from his hospital room. Gotta' love him. No really, I do. We saw all the highs and lows as the market reacted to different outfielders getting traded. B.J. Upton was not the hottest commodity, and the Rays front office still consideres this a competitive team. If we didn't make a move, I trust no move was the wisest.
The Rays kept all of their assets, despite having fallen to 8.5 games behind the wild card and to third in the race. The Angels are 6.5 games back, the Yankees lead. If the Rays go for gold, the Red Sox are 10.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East. The Blue Jays are 1.5 games behind the Rays.
If you really want an idea of how close it's been, Tampa Bay's main competition is for the AL East (Toronto, New York, Boston) and the Wild Card (New York, Los Angeles, Texas).
Since the All-Star Break, those teams' records have been:
The Angels (9-8)
The Rangers (10-7)
The Blue Jays (10-7)
The Yankees (10-7)
The Red Sox (11-6)
The Rays (7-10)
Games decided by two runs or less:
The Angels - 10
The Rangers - 7
The Blue Jays - 4
The Yankees - 7
The Red Sox - 6
The Rays - 8
How many trades did each team make?
- Acquired reliever Mike Adams from the Padres for pitching prospects Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin.
- Acquired Koji Uehara and $2MM from the Orioles for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter.
- Acquired Nick Green and cash considerations from the Rangers for lefty reliever Zach Phillips.
- Acquired starter Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and starter Zach Stewart.
- Acquired center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters from the Cardinals for starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations.
- Will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations from the Dodgers for outfielder Juan Rivera.
- Acquired starter Erik Bedard and reliever Josh Fields from Seattle in a three-way deal also involving the Dodgers. Boston sent catcher Tim Federowicz, reliever Juan Rodriguez, and starter Stephen Fife to Los Angeles and outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang to Seattle. The M's also got outfielder Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers.
- Acquired infielder Mike Aviles from the Royals for infielder/outfielder Yamaico Navarro and reliever Kendal Volz.
- Will receive a player to be named later or cash from Florida for outfielder Mike Cameron.
Does trading or not trading for players indicate the level of confidence a front office has in one's team? Absolutely not. If there is a need or an area to upgrade, by all means a front office will do so. But if the deal is not there to be made, it's better to keep what you have. (see: Yankee starting rotation)
Rays fans should rejoice we held on to Upton, Farnsworth, Shields, Damon, Niemann, Peralta, or any other trading chip you can think of. We are likely better off for it.
By not trading, the Rays front office knows and believes this is the best team possible given the circumstances. The Rays are not a bad team, just falling on hard times. A difference of six runs over seventeen games is enough to put the Rays in front of the Yankees and tied with Boston. This is baseball, anything can happen. (see: Pittsburgh)
So hold your head high. The Rays are still a competitive team with some of the best pitching and defense in the majors. Pray for a few more days like this last series against Seattle, and the Rays may find themselves in first place again by the end of August.
That's the bright side of the Rays. Many of us also have frustrations with nothing happening. Over at our Rays affiliate, DRaysBay, our site editor shared this same sentiment:
The Rays will have plenty of time to make moves over this offseason -- and making no trade is better than making an unwise trade -- so all is certainly not lost. I'm just disappointed with how the trade market worked out and disappointed with how this team looks (right now) heading toward 2012.
Well worth your time, check out his brief vent about the state of the Rays titled, "Why This Trade Deadline Kinda Stunk"