USATSI_7987507_154511044_lowresThe Rays are 44-53, 9.5 games behind the Orioles and 11 back in the loss column. They are also 8.0 games behind the Mariners (9 in loss column) in the Wild Card.

But maybe we are spending too much time focused on those teams. We can talk about schedules and loss columns but the Rays have a bigger problem, we’ve mentioned before but is often forgotten.

There are three teams between the Rays and the Orioles in the East (the Red Sox have fewer losses) and there are seven teams between the Rays and the Mariners in the Wild Card.

Catching the Orioles or the Mariners is not impossible and I would feel a lot better if those were the only teams the Rays were chasing. It is easy to envision one of those teams having a tough second half. But what is hard to imagine is all of the teams ahead of the Rays having a bad second half. And yes, those teams don’t have to be as bad as we need the Orioles or Mariners to be, but it only takes one team in either race to go on a 30-15 run and the Rays will be toast no matter what they do.

So maybe we should think of this as a bunch of mini-races. The Rays are 4.5 games behind the Yankees, 6 in the loss column. In the Wild Card, they are 1.5 games behind the White Sox  (2 in the loss; let’s ignore the Red Sox for now). Catch those teams and then we’ll move on to the next.

Just a few links as we gear up for the second-half

  • Other teams are starting to feel like the Rays will hold on to David Price. “The impression teams are getting is that if the Rays manage to get back in the playoff chase, they will hang on to Price, and if they don’t, they will trade him only if they get a better package than what the Chicago Cubs got for Jeff Samardzija, which eliminates a number of possible suitors.” [ESPN Insider]
  • “I’ve heard rumblings about the Mariners making a push for Zobrist, for what it’s worth.” There is a lot of vague in that statement. [@ChrisCotillo]
  • This is the scariest chart in baseball. Fans will put up with long games with lots of scoring. They’ll put up with low-scoring games that are quick. But baseball is neither of those right now. [BI Sports]
  • Have said it before. But if MLB wants to really make the All-Star game interesting again, bring in the Japan All-Star teams and play 2 games. [BI Sports]
  • Bud Selig actually said something positive about the Rays and the Tampa Bay area, noting that he thinks baseball can work here because “the demographics in the market are good.” Of course, we all know this. The TV ratings are good and nowadays TV ratings are king. Still, nobody wants to see a half-empty stadium on a regular basis. It’s bad advertising for a sport that is trying to dispel the idea that baseball is dying. [Shadow of the Stadium]
  • What?! Luke Scott didn’t work in Korea? I’m shocked! Scott was kicked off his South Korean baseball team after he was “disrespectful” towards his coach. Scott was injured and put on the reserve team. He then got into an argument with the coach, calling him a “liar” and a “coward.” [Korea Times]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscoresRichie Shaffer hit his 11th home run of the season for Montgomery. Ryan Brett went 2-4 and drove in a run…Casey Gillaspie has been on a little run recently with Hudson Valley, going 8-14 in a 3-game span with 12 hits in 7 games before going 0-2 yesterday. He has also cut down on the strikeouts, with just 4 in his last 9 games after having 27 in his first 20 games. He is now hitting .270 with a .346 OBP.
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5 Comments

  1. Skateman says:

    My greatest fear is that we don't trade Price here. We need to replenish the farm. We are very, very unlikely to win the World Series this year or even make the playoffs. To hold Price for this sort of very low probability bet could set us back for years.

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  2. Gus says:

    We still have Price under team control next season, so I think you have to frame it this way: trade Price only if what you are offered in July is materially better than what you think you can get in the off season (where your trade partners increase to include teams who have blown up in 2014).

    If we got less than the Cubs, I'd hold on to him to. I'm sure the Cardinals fans of 2012 never thought they'd win the pennant and the world series either in July. I look at it this way: On July 17, who is going to be better than the Rays in the AL? Detroit who they just handled? The Angels? The A's. I think if we had 7 game series aginst those teams, the Rays may very well win those. If they can make the tournament, this team can win the tournament (may need another catcher). So only when the playoffs are out of reach should they play for next year.

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    • Jim says:

      Gus,
      By most reports, we already turned down the offer that the A's accepted. So i strongly doubt we will accept less for Price as the deadline approaches.

      There will be offers for teams that are sure that they have ZERO chance of signing him long term. They will "gamble" and offer us a top prospect, just on the hope of Price being the missing piece for this years playoff and possible WS run. Then they will simply flip him to another team for another top prospect in the offseason. They can afford to "gamble".

      Teams that haven't sniffed the playoffs in a while will gladly gamble and likely offer a top prospect in return for a slightly lesser prospect in the offseason flip. We SHOULD not do that. We have very little shot at the playoffs, we've had recent success, and we should try to get the maximum for Price.

      With that being said, the miracle comeback will haunt us for years. We will ALWAYS think there's a shot, and we'll hold onto Price until the offseason. After trading him the FO will claim that the offseason offer they finally accept was better than any midseason offer. Lying their asses off while chasing another miracle.

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  3. paco says:

    I agree with skateman, even if we're able to pull off a great comeback and make the playoffs, im not seeing a world series team. Worst possible thing would be to continue on this good, but not great pace were on now. Keep price and still miss the playoffs....

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  4. David Spenn says:

    Price > Samardzija. So I'd expect more than what the A's offered the Cubs in return for Samardzija.

    The one team I think the Rays have the most trouble passing are the Royals because of their schedule. It's one of the weakest of the contenders remaining, and I can see them making a trade to get stronger at the deadline. Like I've posted prior, the Rays have made up decent ground on everyone except the Orioles and Angels (and the A's I believe as well). I'm not so worried about the teams in front as I am the deficit. But as I iterated before, and Olney picked-up on this the O's and M's have tough schedules. If they put up a record good enough to win a playoff spot, hat tip to them, but it's very plausible the next time the O's and Rays meet, those games will have a huge impact on the race.

    Go Rays all the way...

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