Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sitting tight at deadline might prove best move

In 2008, the Rays didn't get Jason Bay at the trade deadline, and many of us thought the Rays were sunk by the non-move, especially when Bay was traded to the Red Sox, who were at the time chasing the first-place Rays.

Turned out to be a wise move. The Rays held on to the prospects the Pirates wanted in exchange for Bay, won the division and the pennant and reached the World Series.

The Rays didn't make any moves this season, and that might turn out to be a wise move, as well.

The Rays had a definite need for another right-handed power-bat in 2008.

They have that this season, though Pat Burrell hasn't provided the pop the Rays had hoped for when they signed the DH in January.

Basically, every thing the Rays need they already have.

Starting pitching? Check.

Defense? Check.

Offense? Check.

What the Rays have, though, are inconsistent starting pitching, slumping hitters and a defense that is not as tight as it was last year.

The Rays feel they can receive the same pop of adding a player if some of those who are struggling return to their productive states.

A productive Scott Kazmir bolsters the rotation.

A productive Burrell, Carlos Pena and Dioner Navarro bolsters the lineup.

The Rays protect their prospects like a mother bear protects her cubs, so they aren't going to give one or two away for another arm in the bullpen.

If V.P. of baseball Andrew Friedman is going to part with a prospect, he's going to want an impact major leaguer in return.

While the Rays are very much alive in the postseason chase, they are far enough out of both the division race and the Wild Card race to mortgage the future on what might be a failed attempt at October baseball no matter how well a trade pans out.

Friedman thought he assembled a playoff team last offseason. He still does.

And if the bats come alive and Kazmir continues to pitch well, he might just be right.

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