Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Are the Rays done?
By Jason A. Churchill
The Tampa Bay Rays, the leader in the American League East entering play Tuesday, acquired right-hander Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox Monday, tweeted ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, shoring up the club's relief corps if Crain comes back healthy from a sore shoulder. Might the Rays strike again?
With a healthy David Price and rolling Chris Archer, the club's starting rotation appears primed for the stretch run. The Rays, however, aren't exactly a juggernaut offensively, and the catcher spot is among the weakest on the roster. Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton have combined to bat .247/.307/.347 for the year. Could Dioner Navarro or John Buck be a fit?
Perhaps more likely, the Rays could upgrade their designated hitter spot, though Luke Scott has tuned it up a notch in July after a poor June. Left field is another area the Rays haven't a reliable everyday option, but Kelly Johnson's versatility has proven valuable. Johnson, a natural shortstop who transitioned to second base early in his big-league career, is batting .281/.330/.531 in 43 games in left.
Considering the perceived asking price on potential answers such as Seattle's Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez, and Hunter Pence of the San Francisco Giants, the Rays may prefer a cheaper, platoon-type solution such as Cubs right fielders Nate Schierholtz.