Rays second half preview
With a record of 45-41, the Rays are off to their worst start in the first half since 2007. But I’m not here to talk about that. The past is the past and you have to let that go in baseball. Frankly I believe the Rays have a lot to look forward to in the second half of the 2012 season. One big thing is that the Rays will get more hitting production. Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce will return at some point in the next two months and that will provide major help for the Rays’ lineup.
You could make the case for these Rays to win the AL east this year. They have probably the easiest August in all of baseball. They constantly play teams such as the Blue Jays, Mariners, Twins, A’s, and so on. If this lineup gets a boost, and the Pitching does not falter, the Rays could be in serious business in the second half. It’s not too late for them to start making a move. They have plenty of time, but need to start it off well in July. If nothing else, one of the two wild card spots should be a open as a serious possibility.
The Rays second half could also include a trade or two. The main positions the Rays would be looking for is catcher and short stop. Some options I have found at short stop include Jamey Carroll , Jed Lowrie , and Marco Scutaro. All three of these get on base a lot and Lowrie has some pop in his bat. Lowrie would be the best option, but the Astros have expressed interest in holding on to him. At catcher I found Miguel Olivo to possibly be a option to supply some power to the line-up. The best option I found is Twins’ back-up catcher Ryan Doumit. Doumit is batting .281 7 HR 36 RBI. He doesn’t strike out a lot and throws out 25% of the batter that attempt to steal on him. He is in the final year of his contract and is a affordable option. He could add some pop to the line-up and is a improvement from Jose Molina/ Jose Lobaton. If the Rays turn into sellers they could cut B.J. Upton and James Shields lose.
Overall, the Rays have a good shot to stay in the playoff race this year. It could be even more exciting than last year. The average American league 5th place finisher over the last ten years has won about 88 games. That means at minimum the Rays should be aiming for 88 wins. If you do the math, if the Rays play to the exact same level as they did in the first half, they will win 85 games. The Rays should improve in the second half, which means there only building up from 85 wins. I think that leaves the Rays with great chances of landing one of the ten playoff spots in the second half.
By: Alex Sommers
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