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Tampa Bay Rays Could Be Sellers by the Weekend

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 5: Alex Cobb (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 5: Alex Cobb (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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The road leading to a post-season berth for the Tampa Bay Rays will be difficult as their remaining games against the Royals could be costly in terms of holding onto or selling players.

As alarming as it may sound, come Friday the Tampa Bay Rays could actually be selling not only some of the players they acquired during their trade deadline frenzy last month, but as well some of their impending free agents.

While there is still time for the Rays to make up the necessary ground to secure a Wild Card berth, there is an outside chance that they may do it without players as Lucas Duda, Sergio Romo, Steve Cishek and even Logan Morrison, Alex Cobb and others. The reason for this is that August 31 is the deadline for players to be traded and remain eligible for the post-season.

Any trades made past this date, players must pass through revocable waivers before the team can trade a player(s) without any restriction. The waivers last 47 hours and it is presumed that the Rays have placed a handful of players on revocable waivers.

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Essentially, the clock started ticking today and with that being said, there are three options that the Rays can do.

1.      They can pull back the players being claimed
2.      Can trade the player(s) to the claiming team
3.      Or if they clear waivers, they can be traded to any team

In the case of the Rays, who maintain confident of being able to leapfrog four other teams to get the second Wild Card, their management team led by President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman and GMs Erick Neander and Chaim Bloom could be thinking otherwise and will have some very tough decisions.

At the time leading up to the July trade deadline, the Rays were not only in reach of the AL East division lead (2 GB on July 18), but they also owned the first Wild Card spot. To bolster their roster, the Rays were buyers and added a handful of “rental” players, taking on some or all of their remaining salary.

However, one month later the Rays no longer are in reach of the AL East division lead (9 GB) and they are fighting for the second Wild Card berth, 2.5 GB – however, there are four teams they would need to leapfrog to obtain the second spot.

Although their stunning pounding of the Kansas City Royals on Monday night was just one game, it moved them one game closer to the second Wild Card berth. However, despite picking up a full game in the Wild Card standings the Rays will need more than one win against the Royals to help their chances.

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This brings us to the question whether or not the Rays would seriously consider trading some of the rentals acquired along with some of their impending free agents, going against how some of the players feel and in all certainty ending all of their chances of reaching the post-season.

“What would be the point?” Chris Archer said. “Unless you got completely overwhelmed, like we better be getting three (top prospect) Willy Adameses, that type, there’s no point.”

Wouldn’t be surprised at all,” Morrison said. “It’s a business.”

According to MLB Traderumors.com from a financial standpoint, the Rays took on all the remaining salary of Adeiny Hechavarria and Lucas Duda. Although Oakland paid part of Trevor Plouffe’s salary, the Rays added and they took on salaries from the deals in obtaining Sergio Romo and Dan Jennings. However, that was offset when Colby Rasmus called it a day and finally Cishek’s acquisition for Erasmo Ramirez was offset with cash.

So, do the Rays trade Alex Cobb who is certain of becoming a free agent and get something in return now or do they take their chances with just a draft pick when he signs elsewhere? Will the Rays even consider trading Logan Morrison, who is clearly having a career year and certain of becoming the AL Comeback Player of the Year or Lucas Duda who has already shown his offensive prowess of hitting the longball?

Or one step further, dismantling the bullpen by trading Tommy Hunter, or the trio of Cishek, Jennings and Romo all of whom have provided much stability during the past month in bullpen that was very unstable for the majority of the season.

The real question is whether Silverman and company has faith in their team or do they waive the white flag with five weeks to go just to save money, get a lesser player in return and essentially end the Tampa Bay Rays chances of gaining ground to reach the Wild Card.

My take is that the Rays will not sell, though as they always do and listen to every offer. I think principle owner Stuart Sternberg would not have given Silverman the green light to spend money if he felt Rays were not capable of reaching the post-season.

Next: Rays Prospect Brent Honeywell Suspended Four Games

The remaining two games against the Royals could be the deciding factor as to whether or not the Tampa Bay Rays will sell or hold onto players heading into the final five weeks of the season.

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