After 10 straight losses, it may be time for the Rays to consider an all-out rebuild
The 0-10 stretch dropped Tampa to 31-42 on the season, and they're 8 1/2 games out of a playoff spot
Saturday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for the Rays. Tampa Bay came into Saturday riding an eight-game losing streak, and not only did they extend the losing streak to nine games, they extended it to 10 games too. The Rays were swept in the doubleheader by the Orioles, dropping the first game 5-0 (box score) and the second game 8-6 (box score).
The two losses drop Tampa Bay to 31-42 on the season. They're 12 1/2 games back of the O's in the AL East and 8 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot. FanGraphs calculates their postseason odds at a mere 1.3 percent, though of course we have to acknowledge it's not yet July. There's still time for the Rays to make a move. It'll definitely be an uphill climb though.
Given their current position and the fact they haven't gone to the postseason or had a winning record since 2013, it might be time for the Rays to consider a total rebuild a la the Braves or Phillies or Brewers. Sure, they've dealt with a lot of injuries of late, but this 10-game losing streak has also exposed a lot of flaws. They're short on depth, the pitching is shaky, and the offense is prone to disappearing.
What do they have to offer in trades? Well, lots. Evan Longoria for one, though he's owed roughly $105 million through 2023, which could be an obstacle. Logan Forsythe, Kevin Kiermaier, Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Alex Colome, Alex Cobb when healthy ... the Rays have some trade chips. No doubt. The weak upcoming free-agent pitching class means they should be able to get huge returns for their starters, especially Archer.
Of course, we have to note the Rays have existed in a state of perpetual rebuild for the last decade or so. They've had to trade away key contributors like David Price, Ben Zobrist, James Shields, and Matt Garza to restock the young player pipeline and remain competitive. It's been a constant retooling more than a rebuild, and by and large it's worked. Only the Yankees (735), Cardinals (728), and Angels (713) won more games from 2008-15 than the Rays (707).
The Rays have reached the point where more than tweaks may be necessary though. Their window to contend with this group is closing if it hasn't already, and sometimes that can be a difficult thing to admit. Tampa Bay doesn't have the budget to add a big free agent, and they don't have the prospect capital to go out and make huge trades. They're always at a disadvantage because they lack the resources of their AL East rivals.
Tampa Bay wisely locked up Longoria and Archer to long-term below-market value contracts, so keeping this team together and going forward with those two as the centerpieces is a viable strategy. The Rays don't have to rebuild. They should at least consider it though, especially since they're on their way to a third straight losing season. It might be time to hit the reset button.
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