Rays Just a Few Moves From Being Competitive
The Tampa Bay Rays sit at 20-22, 6 games behind the Orioles and Red Sox in the AL East. They’re still fighting the uphill battle against organizations with more money to spend to try to compete annually. They’ve got an chance to get after it this year and make some noise, but currently sit in an interesting position where they could become sellers and pack it in in preparation for next season should things continue to go awry in key areas.
The modern Rays don’t really sell; they’re always looking to add value and remain competitive while waiting for a little magic dust to come flying in. I think that’s a good plan again this year as they sit near .500 today, and they’ve got some magic dust on the way.
The pitching staff has reinforcements coming soon: Brad Boxburger will soon return from the DL to fortify the bullpen. Alex Cobb is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and could help in the second half. Blake Snell is among the top 15 prospects in baseball and threw 134 innings last year with a 1.41 ERA.
But the problem with all these guys waiting in reserve is that the pitching staff has already been pretty solid and could be even better if a few contributors return to their expected level. They’re 5th in the AL in xFIP despite Chris Archer sporting a 5.16 ERA and Matt Moore owning an even worse 5.47 figure. Both guys are former All-Stars.
The pitching staff has been pretty decent and should improve even without the additional reinforcements.
The lineup? They’re a well-rounded and athletic group with a number of moving and interchangeable parts. They’re currently 3rd in the AL in WAR, but just 11th in runs.
See how Sean thinks Tampa Bay continue to get better by addressing a possible Rays first baseman trade. You can also check out our full baseball analysis blog for all our latest analysis or follow us on Twitter @blogoffthebench.