Rays Rumors will Pick Up

Tampa Bay begins the second half tonight against Minnesota, they are 9 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East.  If that margin grows, look for the David Price rumors to escalate, along with the rumors about other players.  Take the report by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who says the Mariners are more interested in Ben Zobrist than Price right now.

More such reports and rumors will flood media outlets if indeed the Rays go on a losing skid out of the gate for their final stretch.

But consider this:  The Rays ended the first half on a high note, fueling hopes that the team can get back into their division race against AL East teams of lesser quality than what we’ve seen in past seasons.  The Rays have never backed away from the fact they like the team they put together, and that the odds were low that said team could be as underachieving as it has been to date.  Given that sentiment, if the club shows any kind of pulse to begin the second half, it’s hard to think they will be sellers.

On top of that, the Rays have always maintained they strive to improve their team daily on a year-round basis.  Adhering to that philosophy means they feel no pressure to make things happen by certain deadlines.

One thing is certain, Price has seemingly figured out how to deal with the distractions created by trade rumors.  He is pitching better than ever and will make his first start of the second half on Saturday night in Minnesota.  Meanwhile, the Orioles begin the second half at Oakland, always a difficult place to play.  The standings could shuffle in a hurry.

Then again, the Rays have a tall mountain to climb in order to play significant games in September.

–Bill Chastain

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