Jun 11, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) is congratulated by manager Joe Maddon (70) after they beat the St. Louis Cardinals at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Should We Want the Tampa Bay Rays To Win Games?


Last night’s Tampa Bay Rays win was their best in a long time. They rallied for four runs in the fourth inning against Michael Wacha on big hits from Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce, and Grant Balfour delivered 2.1 perfect innings for the save. But at the end of the day, what does it mean? The win brought the Rays’ record to 25-42, still the worst record in baseball by three games. The Toronto Blue Jays lost so the Rays gained a game, but they are still 14 games back. Obviously every team wins games, even the worst ones. However, what do we want from the Rays right now? Do we want them to go on a run and do their best to make up for this horrific start but fall short?

Here is the reality: if the Rays play .600 ball for the rest of 2014, they will finish with 82 wins. That is the point we have gotten to. That would be nice–nobody will want to play the Rays and they will be the ultimate spoiler–but does that really help them at all? All the Rays will do is hurt their draft slot and still fail to make the playoffs. The reason that the Rays should keep playing hard is really next year. They want to enter the season with momentum and get right back to contending. Even if this year is a long shot, next season still remains promising. The Rays will have an excellent rotation, a lineup with Kevin Kiermaier within it for the entire season and Wil Myers healthy, and a bullpen with another chance to get its act together. The 2015 Tampa Bay Rays will contend in the American League East.  At the end of the day, though, how the 2014 team does will not really factor too much into that.

The Rays are too talented to have the worst record in baseball. Their players will start performing the way they are capable and this team will start winning games. However, the Rays should trade David Price, Matt Joyce, and just maybe Ben Zobrist because it would give them an unbelievable trifecta for next season: the trade chips they acquire, a top 10 in the draft, and a team capable of getting right back in the postseason mix next season. 2014 will go down as a failure for the Tampa Bay Rays, but it could go down as a bridge year where they retooled their minor league system, and instead of entering a rebuilding process, their major league team returned right back to their 2013 levels. That is a golden opportunity, and it would take a streak of epic proportions for the Rays to pass it up.

If the Tampa Bay Rays go on a crazy winning streak, their 2014 hopes are not over yet. Otherwise, it will be time to make some trades, give some young players chances, and get ready for a big 2015 and beyond. The best thing for the Rays to do is struggle to win games now knowing that next season will be just fine and future years will be better if this year is not.

Tags: Tampa Bay Rays

  • James Kirk

    Anyone who says any team in any sport should lose for a better draft pick should be kicked in the teeth. That is all.

    • Robbie_Knopf

      This whole situation is nuts, and I never thought for a moment that I would be saying this when the season began. But what is the point of trying your hardest when doing so actually hurts you moving forward? We’ve seen this strategy work before–the 2012 to 2013 Red Sox certainly come to mind. It isn’t the ideal. It is not as though the Rays should be doing this if they were in contention. But the way baseball works is that when you’re not contending, you sell at the deadline and regroup for the next season. This isn’t the start of a rebuilding process, just a one-year hiatus from the Rays being among the best teams in baseball.

  • TheFrasier707

    U r so right James Kirk.

  • STARMAND

    This is the way I see it. What are the chances of making the playoffs? I’m pretty certain that at this point it is zip-to-none. I don’t think that a team has ever accomplished that while being at 25-42.

    So what are the solutions proposed by the fans? Literally, gut the team. Fire Maddon, fire Shelton, fire Molina. Trade this one, trade the other. DFA this one, shoot-on-sight the other. Frankly, it gets tiring. Not only the losses but also the off-the-cuff remarks. If you trade someone, it has to be for a purpose. And not merely because a player is underperforming. Let’s face it, if the sole reason for a trade or firing was underperformance, the Rays active roster would consist of a few starters, a few relievers and one or two position players. Not even twelve (12).

    So what R. Knopf is saying makes sense. Face the facts, folks. This year the Rays are eating first. In other words, re-load and re-group. If it is accompanied by a #1 draft pick, well, that’s just icing on the cake. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a #1 draft pick.

    YMMV

    • STARMAND

      One more thing. Does anybody really think that D. Price gives a c*ap about Molina’s batting average? As far as we know, when he gets traded he might actually pressure for Molina to go with him.

      Yes, because he’s stupid and doesn’t know hoot about the game…

  • jimfetterolf

    As a Royals fan I wish you folks luck, always admired the way Tampa does things, but I’ld also like to thank you for Shields and Davis. James Shields is a nice bridge to having Ventura and Duffy as #1 and #2 starters and Davis, along with Greg Holland, makes for a lot of seven inning games. Myers may fix the holes in his swing and Odorizzi may eventually make it past the 5th inning and both teams win.

  • George from Tarpon

    It took 3 horrible weeks to screw up this season—-now it will take 3 fantastic weeks to fix it—we need to split with the Tigers, get out of there quick and go back to winning 2 of 3 from people consistently.