The Tampa Bay Rays made a splash in the American League via trade Tuesday afternoon, something that much of Rays fandom was highly anticipating. The Rays acquired right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Civale from the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for First Baseman prospect Kyle Manzardo. 28-year-old Aaron Civale possesses an impressive 5-2 record with a 2.34 ERA thus far in 2023.
It appeared that if the Rays had a glaring need, it was to acquire a starting pitcher as they lost starters Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen for the remainder of the season. After acquiring Civale and seeing right-hander Zack Littell be stretched out to pitch five full innings against the Houston Astros on Sunday, the Rays have the depth at the starting pitching position that they have lacked all season. The Rays bullpen will also expectedly improve substantially as Andrew Kittredge is expected to return from injury in the coming days or weeks. Additionally, they will benefit from additional rest as the Rays have bolstered their starting rotation with Civale.
Do the Rays have more work to do at the trade deadline?
With Rays pitching seemingly fully intact and prepared for a deep October run, should the club stay put with where they currently stand, or pursue acquiring a bat to invigorate their lineup? Despite averaging just over a measly 3.5 runs per game in July, The Rays still remain fourth in the league in runs per game for the season. And it isn't as if they deploy an entirely different lineup now than they did in April, May, and June. They were generating robust numbers offensively early in the season with much of the same lineup that they currently have.
It is clear-cut that the Rays have a championship caliber pitching staff and that the offense is capable of producing big numbers. However, the month of July has served as a perfect example that the current offense is not bulletproof, and they will find themselves packing their bags in the playoffs if they produce in a similar fashion that they have in July.
The Rays still hold the second-best record in The American League and they certainly have a squad that could bring them their first World Series. Considering that they still have a loaded farm system even after dealing Manzardo, it wouldn't hurt to trade for a bat that could further augment this lineup and potentially uplift them when they need it most.