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David PriceAs I write this post the Rays sit in first place, 1/2 game up on the Red Sox. Clearly this team has come a long way.

Moreover, Tampa Bay’s best days lie ahead. The team’s farm system is stacked. David Price, for one, looks like the second coming of Sandy Koufax. And Tampa has the top pick in this year’s amateur draft. So, Rays fans, put on a happy face.

What does Tampa need to help make its 2008 playoff dreams a reality? The same thing every team needs – more pitching. While Tampa’s starting staff is arguably the soundest in the AL (except for maybe Toronto), the bullpen is another matter. Closer Troy Percival recently went on the DL and the team’s ‘pen is stretched thin without him. Frankly, a team shouldn’t be so dependent on a 40-year-old pitcher. Fortunately, plenty of bullpen arms figure to be available as the trade deadline approaches, and Tampa has a bevy of minor league prospects to trade for a player like Octavio Dotel or Matt Capps. Better still, Price could be an option down the stretch for the Rays. He could be this season’s Joba Chamberlain, pitching out of the bullpen for Tampa in August and September before moving to the starting rotation next spring. This would be the best possible scenario for the Rays, allowing them to improve their bullpen depth without sacrificing any prospects.

-What They Need Index-

4 Responses to “What They Need – Tampa Bay Rays: Bullpen Help”

  1. Lyndsay says:

    ughhhh..Rays. more annoying than Ichiro.

    hey you kids…get off my lawn!

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Coley, while it’s true that Percival is on the DL, I’m not sure that the Rays need to push the panic button and do something terrible like trading a prospect for glass-armed Octavio Dotel. The myth of the “established closer” is just that – a myth – and the Rays bullpen is the 5th best in the league, so I’m sure they can find reliable guys to throw out there in the 9th to get through the few weeks Percival will be out. After all, it’s a hamstring injury rather than an arm injury.

    But one area where the Rays have a really obvious need is in right field. So far they have tried Nathan Hayes, Shawn Riggans, Jason Ruggiano, and Gabe Gross, but none of them has been able to hit. With the severely defensively challenged Johnny Gomes and Cliff Floyd and his bad knees locked into a platoon at DH, it has gotten so bad that the Rays are starting Eric Hinske in right field most games. Not only is Hinske over his head defensively in right, but he is also hitting only .243.

  3. Eric Syversen says:

    Or what about at catcher? Does anyone really expect Dionar Navarro, with a career line of .258/.323/.367, continue at a .328/.366/.410 clip?

  4. Coley Ward says:

    I don’t expect Navarro will keep it up. But given that he has gotten off to such a hot start, I don’t think the Rays will replace him anytime soon. At least, I hope not. Moreover, who would they replace him with? Gerald Laird? Meh.

    Actually, if Tampa could pry Bengie Molina away from the Giants, that would be an upgrade. But I see the price for Molina being too high. Plus, the Giants still think they’re in a pennant race, all evidence to the contrary.

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