The headline of this morning’s column by John Romano in the The St. Pete Times reads as follows:
Tampa Bay Rays nearing decision on whether to make push for this year or next
Whoa! Today is June 13. The Rays are two games back in the Wild Card and just four games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. With SEVEN weeks to go before the trade deadline, why in the world would the Rays make a decision now on whether or not to make a run for the playoffs this year?!?!?
RED FLAG #1: One of the first things we do when we read a newspaper column is look for quotes. We like to read them clean, without the bias and framework of the writer. This column has no quotes. That’s interesting.
OK, so Romano isn’t getting this from the team. That’s cool. He can still make a convincing argument even if it is not based on insider information.
RED FLAG #2: The third paragraph.
Andrew Friedman wakes up, looks at those same standings and has to figure out, by the time the calendar reaches mid September, whether Tampa Bay can still be a contender.
Does Andrew Friedman need to decide if they “can” be a contender, or does he need to decide if they “will” be a contender? Because the answer to the first question is easy. There is absolutely nothing about this team that says they cannot be a contender. That doesn’t mean they will. But the starting pitching is just too good for this team to fall out of the race in the near future.
RED FLAG #3: What the definition of “is” is.
[So will they be buyers or sellers?]…The clues start arriving this week. Beginning Tuesday, the Rays will play the Red Sox and Yankees 14 times in 31 games. And when that streak is over, they will be about a week away from the nonwaiver trading deadline.
*Looks back at the title, sees word “nearing.” Looks back at this paragraph, sees “31 games” and “when they streak is over.” Looks at calendar. Shakes head*
OK. So by “nearing decision,” Romano really means nearing the trade deadline, which is seven weeks away. The same time every other team in this league will be “nearing decisions.”
RED FLAG #4: More calendar fail.
In order for Tampa Bay to become buyers, I would assume it would need to make up some ground or at least remain stable in the standings in the next month. Maybe then they could look around for free-agents-to-be on struggling clubs…And if the Rays fall any further behind Boston and New York, they will have to seriously consider turning some of their veterans into prospects.
OK, you guys get the idea now. The Rays are nearing decisions the same way Scott Kazmir used to near complete games in the 5th inning.
RED FLAG #5: Time exaggeration.
There is still plenty of time left in the season — nearly 100 games for the Rays — but the hour for making tough decisions is fast approaching…In the next six weeks or so, the Rays will have to decide whether they want to place a bet on 2011, or start reshuffling the deck.
The hour is fast approaching! *Amok! Amok! Amok!* That sounds so ominous.
The decision is nearing! In only 1,008 hours (the number of hours in 6 weeks), the Rays will decide whether to be buyers or sellers. Just like every other team in this league.