Tampa Bay Rays 2016 Midseason Report

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The Rays’ woes continue as they have now lost 20 of their last 23 games. The last time they were able to win consecutive games was back from June 12 to June 15 when they took three in a row. This team was hard to beat when Evan Longoria could carry the team with his offense, but not even Longoria’s bat seems to be enough for the Rays to string together some wins. It’s clear the Rays stand little chance of winning this year, but there’s no need to fret. Tampa Bay still has a strong nucleus of talent going forward with nearly every player under control for many years. The future is bright. With that being said, let’s take a look at the state of the club at the halfway point through this season:

Tampa Bay Rays 2016 Midseason Report

Biggest Surprise: The injury bug

It is without a doubt that a plague of injuries certainly contributed to their struggles at the bottom of the division. Losing key players like Logan Forsythe and Kevin Kiermaier has been nothing short of ruthless. The injuries to Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza Jr., Steve Pearce and Mikie Mahtook have left the Rays with a severely depleted offense and basically no outfield. All of those injuries coupled with the struggles of the pitching staff and bullpen makes it easier to see why this team is currently 13 games behind the first place Orioles, harboring the second worst record in the American League.

Biggest Disappointment: Chris Archer

Archer’s nightmare of a season continues as he dropped a fifth straight decision, including his second to the Red Sox over his last three starts. He entered the night with a 9.50 ERA in the first inning this season — the third-highest in the American League. Archer is one loss away from equaling the career-high mark that he set last season. His four wins currently rank as his lowest total in that category since his first year in 2012 when he only completed 29.1 innings. There’s hope that after the All-Star break he can possibly save his season in the second half.

Midseason MVP: Evan Longoria

Longoria is back to performing like one of the top hitters in the AL, hitting .287 with 19 home runs and 47 RBI. He got a lot of support from fans and the Rays organization while finishing last among the five candidates for the final spot on the American League All-Star team. Possibly feeling a bit of extra motivation following his All-Star snub, Longoria is now 7-for-13 over his last three games, and his ninth-inning homer was his first since June 20. Despite the season-long rut the Rays offense has been in, the 30-year-old is on pace for his best homer total since hitting 32 in 2013.

What to Watch for in the Second Half

Injury curse lifted

The injury bug will not last. Kevin Kiermaier took a full round of batting practice early Friday and is set to start a minor-league rehab assignment Monday or Tuesday. Righthander Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) threw a bullpen session Friday and is slated for two-three innings Monday with advanced Class A Charlotte in his second rehab start. Righthanders Brad Boxberger and Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) will throw in the bullpen today and then live batting practice Tuesday.

Trade Deadline

According to, the Rays are not actively trying to move anyone in advance of the trade deadline but have taken notice of the weak pitching markets that will exist both this summer and in the offseason. Pitching will be at a premium, especially with the lack of aces available both now and this winter. This might cause Tampa to explore a variety of different scenarios. For example, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi could likely be had for the right price before the deadline, as Tampa appears willing to listen on all three. Moore is already drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Rangers, and Odorizzi is already being linked to the Marlins.

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