It's no secret that everyone feels this homestand is huge. Which, in hindsight is reason enough to feel that it won't go well. But Shelton proclaiming last night's game as "The most important of the season" is silly. Making statements like these should generally be reserved for when the season ends and you reflect back. Take last year. Most people point to that Red Sox game in Boston that Dan Johnson won with his pinch hit home run as the biggest game of the year. However, at that moment in time, while it was certainly a big game, it didn't feel like the biggest game of the year yet (Note: A lot of people feel the Zobrist homer against the Jays to end the 7 game slide heading into the All Star break was the biggest game last year).
Was last night a let down? Yes. But, that article was not the proper reaction.
Additionally, Shelton doesn't appear to have a firm grasp on reality. That reality being, we are the Tampa Bay Rays, and despite our current $60 payroll, all roster moves have to be made in the context that we are Tampa Bay. Trading for a average fielding, good hitting $7 million a year catcher doesn't make sense for this organization. It's tough to argue on behalf of trading FOR a starting pitcher (Halladay) when just last offseason the decision was made to move Edwin Jackson because there was a logjam in the rotation. In most cases the Rays do fit the description of a team that is buying at the trade deadline. In the Rays case though, I don't think they should ever consider themselves buyers unless they are serious contenders to win a World Series. Our shortcomings against the AL Central and AL West tell me that the Rays will have a difficult time in the ALDS against the likes of the Angels, Rangers, Tigers, White Sox, or Twins. There argument exists that adding one pitcher is just enough in a 5 game series, but not with this team.
July has been a rough month for the Rays. We have exactly 1 win that was a no doubter: the July 10th win over the A's. Final score 6-0. Niemann's complete game shutout. The Rays are 10-11 in July, but 9 of those ten wins could have easily gone the other way. Maybe a trade is what they need, but not at the expense of future seasons. Sternberg has been pretty public about the bloated payroll, and warning the fans not to expect $60 million to be the new norm.
I expect the Rays to either stand pat, or possibly move a higher salary guy to a willing suitor.