The key to the Rays' success so far has been their pitching staff, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, who praises Tampa Bay for playing so well despite a few slumping bats. Cafardo says that it may be hard for the club to add another piece or two before the trade deadline, since their budget is already maxed out. However, Cafardo acknowledges that with Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena facing free agency, the Rays may go all-out this year and stretch their budget a little in hopes of winning a championship. Here are some of Cafardo's other notes:
- After this season, David Ortiz is probably "done in Boston unless he takes a massive pay cut." Ortiz might have trouble catching on anywhere next year, since there's virtually no market for one-dimensional players, and he may not be willing to accept a role similar to Jason Giambi's in Colorado.
- If Ortiz and Victor Martinez continue to hit, the Red Sox are very unlikely to pursue Chris Iannetta.
- One of the winter's most disappointing new additions has been Garrett Atkins, who is homerless and sports a .221/.261/.283 slash line in 119 plate appearances. The Orioles will have to consider releasing him if he doesn't turn things around.
- The Rangers are looking for a starting pitcher and a productive right-handed bat. A Rangers official tells Cafardo that he'd still love to see Mike Lowell in Texas.
- Cafardo thinks that if the Red Sox fall out of playoff contention and become sellers, they could replenish their farm system, acquiring multiple players for Martinez, Lowell, Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Hermida. I'm less optimistic than Cafardo about the caliber of talent the Sox could land for most of those guys.