The Tampa Bay Rays have dealt with a number of issues, ranging from injuries to poor performances, in what has been a disappointing 2014 season thus far.
A team that many projected to make the playoffs and even represent the American League in the World Series, the Rays find themselves in last place in the AL East with a woeful 23-34 record so far. It is hard to imagine the Rays being full-blown sellers in 2014 given their recent run of success. But if things keep going the way they have been, that will likely be the case.
The most prominent name on the list of players that the Rays could dangle in a trade would be ace David Price. The trade rumors surrounding the left-handed pitcher have weaved in and out of the headlines over the last few years. If the Rays still stink come trade deadline time, the Price trade rumors will heat up again.
Zobrist, who recently returned from a stint on the disabled list, is a solid and versatile player who could help any number of contending teams. The Rays would likely choose not to trade him within the division, which is too bad for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees; both those teams could use Zobrist as a major upgrade at second.
Joyce would also be a valuable player to a potential playoff team because of one hit skill: his ability to hit right-handed pitching. His limitations otherwise would mean a more modest return for the Rays, but they could still get value for him.
Continuing to succeed with such a small payroll requires the Rays to depart with experienced players at the right time, either when the player gets too expensive or when the team can maximize the player’s value. A disappointing 2014 season might very well force them to face those decisions with Price, Zobrist, and Joyce.