Tampa Bay Rays confident after standing pat at deadline
Rays manager Joe Maddon and executive VP Andrew Friedman both said they are confident they can return to the postseason with the players they have and didn't feel the need to make a trade before Friday's 4 p.m. deadline.
"After hour upon hours of internal and external conversations we just ultimately didn't find a fit,'' Friedman said.
Asked about fans being frustrated that they didn't make any moves when competitors did, Friedman said he understood that may be the case but they had to stick to their philosophy and plan. "It’s something that it’s hard to factor into your thought process because ultimately it’s when you start making bad decisions when you do things for the wrong reasons,'' he said. "I think we’ve demonstrated we’ll make aggressive moves and we’ll do certain things when it’s in the best interest of this organization. When you do things to placate anyone and not do things for the right reasons is when ultimately you start getting yourself in a lot more trouble then it’s worth.’’
Friedman said they had one potential type deal that was "fairly close" at the deadline that didn't work out.
Both acknowledge the offense has to improve for them to challenge for a playoff spot, but said they feel they have enough depth, and looked more at improving their pitching and defense.
"The run prevention side of things was an area that we were probably a little more focused on,'' Friedman said. "We have faith in this offense, we have faith in the guys we have. Ultimately for us to get back these guys are going to have to click and get going, and I would absolutely bet on it before I would bet against it. These guys have a track record and they’ve demonstrated it over a long period of time in some cases. I’d say we’re pretty bullish on our offense and what we expect out of the last two months.’’
He also said they will "scour" the waiver wire to continue seeking ways to improve the team in August, and being behind the Yankees and Red Sox could work to their advantage.
"I think the only benefit to being in third place right now is the fact that we have waiver priority over the Red Sox and Yankees,'' Friedman said. "Hopefully we don’t have waiver priority over them all the month. It's certainly the only good thing about it, and something that we'll take advantage of.''
Said Maddon: "I'm good. I really believe we have all the components in place; I thought that from day one. Obviously we have to get more production out of some folks that I think they're very capable of. We have to play at a more consistent level overall. ... We definitely have the folks in house that are very capable of making up the ground on both the Red Sox and the Yankees. So I'm comfortable with it, and I really mean that.''
As for the Red Sox getting Victor Martinez, Maddon said: "The guy's a good hitter, man. ... He makes them better offensively, there's no question.''