Did the Tampa Bay Rays do enough at the MLB trade deadline?
By Kasey Kuhrts
A week ago, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the rest of the teams in Major League Baseball were making trades left-and-right to better, and sometimes worsen their ballclubs. However, I believe a fair question remains for the Rays, did they do enough?
The Tampa Bay Rays made the first big move of the deadline, acquiring Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins for Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. However, that wasn’t near the biggest move made by an AL East team.
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AL East made huge Trade Deadline moves
Although Nelson Cruz has had the best career of anyone acquired by an AL East team at the deadline, it isn’t fair to say Cruz was the biggest splash in the division.
Now, I know what you are thinking. You think I believe Joey Gallo or Anthony Rizzo was the biggest move made by the AL East. And although they have both helped the Yankees go 8-2 in their last 10 games, I’m looking at the team North of the Border, who have also won eight of their last ten.
Obviously, the big move for the Toronto Blue Jays was acquiring Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins, and giving up a king’s ransom to do it, but don’t sleep on guys like Brad Hand, and Joakim Soria, who the Jays acquired for the back end of their bullpen.
If the Jays can add quality pitching to their MLB leading team slugging percentage, OPS, and home runs, they might scare me more than the Yankees.
The other team not to sleep on, the Boston Red Sox. Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays swept the Sox at Tropicana Field last weekend, but the Red Sox went out and addressed needs. The Red Sox added Austin Davis and Hansel Robles to a bullpen that needed help and will add Kyle Schwarber when he’s ready to be activated from the Injured List.
So, the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox obviously got better, but did the Tampa Bay Rays?
Did the Tampa Bay Rays do enough?
Trading for Nelson Cruz addressed the biggest need on the team, a big bat that crushes left-handed pitching, however, through 10 games with the team, Cruz is only hitting .184 with a .244 on-base percentage. Now, I don’t worry about Cruz, but what I do worry about is the pitching staff.
I was a big believer the team needed to go out and get a starting pitcher, instead, the Rays dealt Diego Castillo, their primary closer in the first half of the season, to the Mariners. The Rays did return JT Chargois from Seattle, who has been good in the Rays bullpen since the trade.
The Rays also acquired DJ Johnson from the Indians for the bullpen, as well as Shawn Armstrong, who is pitching for Triple-A Durham currently. However, no starting pitcher was acquired by the Rays.
Does this mean the Tampa Bay Rays have a plan for their number one pitching prospect, Shane Baz, when he returns from the Olympics? Hopefully so.
The Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays all upgraded their rosters in a big way, can we say the Tampa Bay Rays did that? And if they did, by how much?
It’s still too early to tell, but the Tampa Bay Rays will continue to do what they have always done, excel in the underdog role.