The Rays’ Biggest Needs

The trade deadline is two months away, and it's time to start looking at the needs of contenders.  With the best record in baseball, you wouldn't expect the Rays to have many.

At 5.12 runs scored per game, the Rays rank fourth in the American League.  First base is one possible area to address, as Carlos Pena is down to .175/.299/.350 after a brutal May.  If he doesn't come around in June, the trade market could offer Paul Konerko, Adam LaRoche, and Lance Berkman.  Internally, Hank Blalock hit well in Triple A and the Rays have a couple of minor league veterans tearing it up in Dan Johnson and Chris Richard.

The Rays have mainly been using Blalock as their designated hitter lately.  If they look to make a change, Luke Scott and Travis Hafner could be two available DHs, though it's hard to imagine a Hafner deal given the $36.6MM remaining on his contract through 2012.  A Ty Wigginton reunion could be a low-risk move.  A guy like Jim Edmonds could be rented to DH against righties. 

The Rays appear to have weathered the loss of J.P. Howell, as the bullpen still has weapons like Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, and Joaquin Benoit.  The Rays might even be able to spare Andy Sonnanstine, who won 13 games in '08 and could help a team like the Cardinals or Mets.


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