Tampa Bay's offense does not look good on paper. Outside of Evan Longoria, the team doesn't have a big-time hitter. They have role players who will likely step up and perform well, because if we've learned anything about the management of the Rays it's that they get the most out of their players. But squeezing blood from a turnip may not be the only plan of action for the Rays. They may look to add another bat.
Specifically the Rays might be looking to add another right-handed hitter. They picked up lefty James Loney during the offseason, but Loney is far from the offensive threat the Rays want long-term. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times also says the team may look to platoon Loney or give him days off. To do so, they will need a right-handed bat.
With the suddenly competitive Baltimore Orioles looking to repeat as a playoff team in 2013, and the Toronto Blue Jays loaded, Tampa will ned to find a way to keep up. The New York Yankees look as if they may have a down year, and it's not clear how the Boston Red Sox moves this offseason will affect their success (or lack thereof) on the field. But the Rays still have competition. That much is clear.
James Loney came over as a free agent acquisition after the Red Sox let him walk. Boston picked Loney up as a half-season rental as part of the blockbuster deal that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Loney struggled in Boston and hit just .230/.264/.310. The Rays hope he can bounce back and post numbers more along the lines of the 134 OPS+ player he was in 2007.
The Rays are stacked with lefties, so pursuing another righty makes sense. They may look internally for candidates to add a right-handed bat to the lineup, but a trade or free agent signing seems more likely. The Rays recently re-signed Kyle Farnsworth to a one-year deal, so it is clear they are not against making moves this close to spring training. Now, they just have to decide if spending money on another bat and shuffling the roster around to accommodate that bat is worth the time and money.