Am I the only baseball fan who doesn't think the Tampa bay Rays' AL East lead of four games is big enough to withstand the loss of Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria and that the team's inability to add a big bat at the trade deadline looks even worse?
From the St. Petersburg Times, this is how the Rays intend to patch these line-up holes:
"Justin Ruggiano was recalled from Triple-A Durham to join a left- and rightfield mix-and-match ensemble that includes Eric Hinske, Greg Gross and, on an occasional basis, Rocco Baldelli. Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist will man third base."
Whether one believes that cast of characters can hold down the fort for the Rays' 1st pennant chase is likely dependent on your rooting interests, real life or fantasy.
Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus leads Under The Knife with Evan Longoria's injury situation. Non-subscriber's should be able to read most of it. What stood out to me was the timeframe. Here is what Will wrote (bold mine):
With rumblings of a waiver-wire deal, the Rays have to hope that when Longoria returns in mid-September he'll look more like the RotY candidate he's been all year than post-injury David Ortiz.
More to worry about in Tampa/ St. Pete than just a couple week D.L. stint?
The Arizona Diamondbacks picked-up NL HR leader Adam Dunn for three minor leaguers. He will play RF for now. When Justin Upton returns from the D.L., there will be a shift that will involve someone losing regular ABs whether it is current 1B Chad Tracey or LF Conor Jackson. Both can be kept in the line-up if the NL West-leading Diamondbacks decide the defensive risk of moving 3B Mark Reynolds to 2B and Chad Tracy back to 3B is something the team can withstand over the play-off push.
In Cincinnati, who gets Adam Dunn's ABs is less clear. Corey Patterson and Jay Bruce appear to be safe with Jerry Hariston, Jr seeing as much time as his body will allow. Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark favors HRs so any player who can receive regular ABs should be a player-of-interest. Watch the boxscores over the next week for a more definitive answer.