I have now seen every major deal that went down at this year’s trade deadline, as well as the ones that didn’t happen. Caught up in those trades that were not made were the Rays, who now have a three game division lead going into August. There were talks about Xavier Nady, Jason Bay and even Adam Dunn being sent to Tampa Bay to give the lineup a muchneeded power surge. However, with asking prices too high (Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis for Bay quickly fell flat), the Rays decided that their best moves would be internal. With Rocco Baldelli playing well at AA Montgomery as he returns from mitochondrial disorder and David Price remaining undefeated (90, 12 starts) in the minor leagues, they will probably end up using those guys as their right handed hitter and left handed pitcher, respectively.
I think that, with the way this team has been built towards years of success, trading multiple prospects for anyone who would have only been here for two months trying to impress the big markets would have probably been a front office failure. Boston’s acquisition of Bay while casting off Manny Ramirez (finally) along with Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen, while ridding the locker room of Reggie Jackson, Jr., won’t make them worlds better as a team. The Yankees’ steal of Nady and Damaso Marte, combined with the trade of Kyle Farnsworth for a pasthisprime Ivan Rodriguez, most likely didn’t set the Bronx on fire either. Maybe they got better, but it may not be a hole that they can escape from. The Rays staying with what got them here to begin with looks like a smart move. Carlos Pena has hit three home runs this past week, all on the road, increasing his home run productivity by 20% for the entire season. Carl Crawford is finally starting to get some big hits, Longoria is still doing very well, and Navarro is still hitting over .310. The pitchers are as good as they have been all season. It’s looking like our time is now as all the pieces are merging into the winning puzzle. Where the trade market didn’t fit, people are starting to fill in. Coming back home tonight from a winning roadtrip gives even more immediate hope to extending this division lead.
I’ll keep close tabs on the Rays throughout the weekend as they face the Detroit Tigers, who are also pushing for a playoff spot. Great news, Rays fans: Saturday night’s game featuring LL Cool J has sold out in advance to the point where the tarped off seats will be opened for the first time in years. This is something that will get the critics backtracking. Rays fans are finally showing up to games. Speaking of which, I need to get back to Tropicana Field sometime soon. Until the capacity crowd drowns the Tigers in a deep blue sea, go Rays.