Tampa Bay is still in the hunt for the wild card, but it's appearing clearer everyday that the Rays are simply a step behind their divisional rivals, so it should not be a surprise to see the Rays shake things up before the July 31 trade deadline—with B.J. Upton and these four players most likely to be dealt in the next week.
The Tampa Bay Rays are slowly falling out of playoff contention, trailing the division leading Boston Red Sox by 9.5 games and the Yankees by six games. Whether it's to build for the coming seasons or try to make a move to get into postseason play this year, the Tampa Bay Rays will make some noise before July 31.
MLBtraderumors.com reported earlier today that the Tampa Bay Rays are still deciding on what to do with Johnny Damon.
Damon is hitting .276 with nine homers, and he's been a good dugout guy for the Rays—something a skipper like Jo Maddon really appreciates.
I think the best option for the Rays regarding Jonny Damon is to just stay put with him. They aren't likely to get much in return for his services, and Damon has provided some big at bats for Tampa this year.
It was reported by SBnation.com earlier today that James Shields has been pulled off of the trade market, but who's to say if a sweet enough deal came along Tampa Bay wouldn't pull the trigger?
Shields has pitched seven complete games while accumulating a 2.33 ERA, so his stock is about as high as it will probably ever be. The Rays would be foolish to at least not listen to offers.
The Cincinnati Reds can offer a nice package to the Rays for James Shields, a deal that would most likely send first-baseman Yonder Alonso, catcher Yasmani Grandal and reliever Brad Boxberger all to Tampa.
The Rays' closer blew a save opportunity last night against his former team, the Kansas City Royals, but all-in-all, Farnsworth has been a good player for Tampa Bay in 2011.
Farnsworth has a 1.99 ERA with a .54 percent ground-ball rate while posting 7.1 strikes per nine innings.
MLBtraderumors.com has reported the the Rays are willing to part ways with the 35-year-old closer and will listen to offers. If Farnsworth is dealt, either Joe Peralta and Jake McGee could take over the closing duties for Tampa Bay.
Upton has never lived up to his potential or been able to match the production of his brother, (Justin Upton), but he's still only 26 years old, and all the potential in the world is there.
The Rays recently called up out fielder Desmond Jennings, who looks to be in line to replace B.J. Upton at center field if B.J. is traded before the July 31 trade deadline.