As 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.