MLB Trade Rumors: Tampa Bay Rays Will Have to Find a NL Trade Partner
It doesn't make sense for the Tampa Bay Rays to trade with another American League team should they decide to move James Shields, B.J. Upton or any other player.
Outside of the Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, every other team in the AL is no further than two games out of the wild card race. That will drastically reduce the number of sellers and teams that would be willing to give up the type of offensive addition that the Rays need for their lineup.
With so many teams in the hunt, it leaves more questions than possibilities as the deadline approaches.
Even if a team is interested in a player like Shields, would it be willing to deal an offensive player to a team that it is competing with for the wild card or could possibly face in the postseason? Would the Rays be willing to face the same possible consequence?
The National League wild card race is not as balanced with eight teams more than five games back. If there are going to be teams that will be more willing to be traditional sellers, that is where you will find them. Teams like the Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs will be the belles of the ball as the deadline approaches.
Andrew Friedman and the Rays will not simply trade a player for the sake of trading a player. If the other team isn't offering an equitable deal, then they will stand pat with the players they have on the roster and continue to try to find another way to be competitive. There has to be value for both sides, which is why this will most likely be a quiet deadline.
One team in particular that could offer the most equitable deal for the Rays is the Washington Nationals. Depending on how serious they are on limiting Stephen Strasburg's innings, they might be interested in adding another starter like Shields. According to Jim Bowden from ESPN.com, there is a rumor about a possible B.J. Upton for Michael Morse trade between the two teams. The right-handed Morse is currently batting .289 in his 39 games for the Nationals.
Who should the Rays trade
Steve Lombardozzi is another player currently on the Nationals roster who could fit the Rays needs. He is a switch hitter currently batting .267 who has played four positions this season, offering flexibility, which is an attribute that the Rays tend to value.
Only time will tell what moves happen and which rumors never materialize as we march toward the deadline.
Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
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