They tried. By acquiring Lucas Duda and other reinforcements last summer, the Rays tried to parlay a hot start into a backdoor playoff berth. Those efforts failed in two days. First, Tampa Bay failed to even break .500 for the year. Second, the Rays’ most impactful trade was one that immediately backfired, and could haunt them for years to come: Flipping former number-one overall pick Tim Beckham to the Orioles for little return, then watching as Beckham started raking right away in Baltimore.
More reinforcements will surely be needed if the Rays hope to vie for a wild-card spot in 2018, with first base and left field looking particularly grim. One (ahem) ray of hope: Even with Alex Cobb likely leaving via free agency, Blake Snell and Jacob Faria offer lots of potential as mid-rotation starters who could harness their talent and take on bigger roles next season.