Now that the non-waiver deadline has passed, we’re taking a look back at what each team was able to accomplish before 4 p.m. ET on July 31. Next up in our recap series, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay Rays (55-53), 4 GB in AL East, 1.5 GB in AL Wild Card
ACQUIRED: 1B Lucas Duda (from NYM), SS Adeiny Hechavarria (from MIA), RHP Steve Cishek (from SEA), LHP Dan Jennings (from TB), RHP Sergio Romo (from LAD), RHP Tobias Myers (from BAL)
TRADED: INF Tim Beckham (to BAL), RHP Erasmo Ramirez (to SEA), 1B Casey Gillaspie (to TB), RHP Drew Smith (to NYM), OF Braxton Lee (to MIA), RHP Ethan Clark (to MIA)
The Rays find themselves under two games back of the second Wild Card spot in the American League, and have decided to push for a playoff spot by making multiple acquisitions before the trade deadline.
Their biggest moves were adding power bat Lucas Duda and reliever Steve Cishek. Duda currently has 20 home runs and is enjoying an OPS+ and slugging percentage above his career average. He quickly slugged two home runs against the Yankees in his first series with the Rays, who will be hoping for Duda to do some damage the rest of the way against their division rivals as they look to make up ground in the division race.
Duda brings a home run threat to a team that can already slug the long ball, while shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was brought on to help a defense that ranks 26th in the league in terms of errors committed. Hechavarria doesn’t add much of a bat to the lineup, but his glove work makes him a decent acquisition.
The rest of their work at the deadline was centered around their bullpen, who is 19th in the league in bullpen ERA. Cishek and his 2.70 ERA was a good add, and has shown it so far with 3 1⁄3 shutout innings since his arrival to Tampa. Dan Jennings gives the Rays a lefty out of the pen, but won’t necessarily get you a big strikeout when needed, although his 3.60 ERA is decent.
Tampa Bay didn’t give up much for any of these players, instead deciding to— uncharacteristally— take on money. Drew Smith is a low-ranked relief prospect and Casey Gillaspie has struggled at Triple-A this year, so the Rays didn’t have to part with any very valuable pieces in acquiring their five major-leaguers.
The head-scratcher comes from who the Rays traded away, specifically in infielder Tim Bechkam, who was sent to Baltimore. Beckham isn’t a star, but he has enjoyed a much better season than Brad Miller, who is batting just over .200 with four home runs. The Rays decided to stick with Miller the rest of the way and part ways with Beckham, which is somewhat confusing.
If Miller can’t turn it around, the Rays can look for another utility outfielder if one is available before the waiver deadline, although anything at that point would likely be a minor upgrade at best. For now, this looks like the roster that will try to fight its way into the postseason for the first time since 2013.
For a complete list of our trade deadline recaps, click here.