Did the Tampa Bay Rays get better at the trade deadline, or did they tread water, make a few moves and try to hang in there till Franco, Margot, and Ramirez return?
Last year the Rays went out and got Nelson Cruz at the trade deadline to give them that big bat in the middle of the lineup.
This year, the Ray’s trade deadline acquisitions were met with one big yawn.
And the Rays traded one of the most popular players, Brett Phillips, to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations.
Two days after honoring the hometown Phillips with a basketball jersey giveaway, Phillips was designated for assignment and eventually shipped off to Baltimore.
The Rays will miss his enthusiasm in the dugout and the energy he brought to the diamond, whether he was in the lineup or not.
The Rays acquired outfielder Jose Siri from the Houston Astros in a three-team trade to take the roster spot of Brett Phillips.
Siri was playing at AAA Sugar Land when he heard he was going to Tampa. Siri had a rough 48-game stint in Houston this season, hitting .178 with three homers and ten runs batted in.
Siri was an expensive pick-up for the Rays as they had to give up two of their top pitching prospects in Seth Johnson and Jayden Murray.
Since coming to Tampa, Siri has been decent in the outfield, but his struggles have continued at the plate as he is hitting just .111.
The Rays also acquired a bat with some power picking up outfielder David Peralta from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league catcher Christian Cerda.
The 34-year-old Peralta is in the final year of his contract. He will be a free agent at the end of the season. Peralta was hitting .248 with 12 homers and 41 runs batted in so far this season.
Peralta is an excellent defensive outfielder, so he should see plenty of action against left-handers and as a defensive replacement later in games.
Peralta is hitting .286 with the Rays and has one run batted in.
The Rays also added some future bullpen depth by acquiring pitcher Garrett Cleavinger from the Dodgers. Cleavinger had spent most of the season at AAA Oklahoma City, with an 0-2 record and a 2.79 ERA with 47 strikeouts.
Cleavinger will report to AAA Durham.
Rays GM Erik Neander said the team was in talks up to the final seconds of the trade deadline but decided against any further additions because of the injured players coming back later this season.
The Rays are 58-50 and have a two-game lead over Cleveland and Baltimore for the final wildcard spot.
The Rays did not improve much at the trade deadline. Instead, they traded a .147 hitter in Brett Phillips for Jose Siri, who is hitting .178. Siri may be a bit quicker, but their offense is comparable.
Peralta has proven he has a bit of pop in his bat sometimes. Let’s see if he can bring that to Tampa and keep the offense going until the big three of Franco, Margot, and Ramirez get back.
The Rays have continued to play inconsistent baseball since the All-Star break. The Rays are 7-8 since the break and are 28-29 in one-run games.
That is not a recipe for success and does not bode well for the Rays in a tight playoff series.