The trades are officially rolling in. Yesterday brought in the first kind of major deal leading up to the trade deadline, and the Rays dealing two days in a row shows they may be more of a seller than anticipated.
Yesterday the New York Mets dealt first baseman Lucas Duda to Tampa Bay for right-handed reliever Drew Smith. The deal bodes well for the Mets in the short term; they’ve been beaten with every kind of ugly stick in the pitching department this year, and by jettisoning Duda they clear up a logjam at first and allow Jay Bruce to take reps in the infield. Also, Jay Bruce might be on the move before the deadline is over.
Duda is a strikeout-heavy left-handed bat, but he’s shown great potential after stellar performances over 2014 and 2015, and has done well this season considering his injuries last year.
With the departure of neckbeard aficionado Colby Rasmus this season, the Rays will be able to move the pieces around to get Duda in as a designated hitter.
In Seattle, Jerry DiPoto continues to trade his ham sandwiches for PB and Fluff sandwiches without the crust every day at lunch, and Steve Cishek is now a Ray as well. In return, the Mariners received Erasmo Ramirez, a long reliever who can help a still-struggling bullpen. Cishek can fill in as a setup guy or even a closer depending on what side of the bed he woke up that day.
It shouldn’t be a tremendous surprise that the Rays are selling the way they are; they’re 53-51 and only 3.5 games behind the Red Sox. By adding more power at the plate and more closing ability late in games, they’re just bolstering themselves for a strong run at the playoffs.