The Rays are in position to be "buyers" during the 13 shopping days left until the July 31 deadline for nonwaiver deals. While they've tried and believed they've come close to making a big deal before, working in 2008 to land OF Jason Bay (who went to Boston) and last year Cliff Lee (Philadelphia) and Victor Martinez (Boston), this year could be the most interesting as they have the prospects to offer, permission from principal owner Stuart Sternberg to take on salary and a legitimate chance to get to the playoffs. Most of their previous Julys have been different, of course, often marked by salary dumps or swapping inconsequential pieces. Here's a look at their most memorable July deals:
2004: Did this really happen?
By Chuck LaMar
Acquired LHP Scott Kazmir, above, who became a two-time All-Star, plus RHP Jose Diaz from the Mets for RHPs Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.
2006: Stocking up
By Andrew Friedman
Traded INF/OF Aubrey Huff and cash to the Astros for INF Ben Zobrist, above, who became an All-Star, and RHP Mitch Talbot, later traded to the Indians for C Kelly Shoppach, below. The return wasn't as good on their other deal, sending free-agent-to-be SS Julio Lugo to the Dodgers for INF Joel Guzman and OF Sergio Pedroza.
2000: The salary dump
Traded OF Bubba Trammell and RHP Rick White to the Mets for OF Jason Tyner and RHP Paul Wilson. Traded RHP Jim Mecir, LHP Todd Belitz to the A's for RHP Jesus Colome and cash. And traded LHP Mark Guthrie and RHP Steve Trachsel to the Jays for 2B Brent Abernathy.
2001: Goodbye, Mr. McGriff
Traded 1B Fred McGriff, above, a Tampa product, to the Cubs in a sad salary dump for RHP Manny Aybar and INF Jason Smith. McGriff went on to hit 12 more homers to finish with 31 for the season.
2007: Building a bullpen
Acquired RHP Grant Balfour, top, from the Brewers in 2007 for RHP Seth McClung and the next day acquired RHP Dan Wheeler, below, from the Astros for INF Ty Wigginton. Not as help, they traded INF Jorge Cantu, OF Shaun Cumberland and cash to the Reds for RHP Calvin Medlock and LHP Brian Shackleford.
The Rays have made a few deals of note in August, such as their 2008 acquisition of RHP Chad Bradford. But the biggest? That was last year, when they traded LHP Scott Kazmir to the Angels for INF Sean Rodriguez, LHP Alex Torres and INF Matt Sweeney.
In GQ magazine's ratings of TV broadcasters, the Dewayne Staats-Kevin Kennedy duo finished third — on the worst list. … In updated odds from bodog.com, the Rays (and Rangers) are 15-2 to win the World Series behind the 3-1 Yankees. … Interesting All-Star viewing seeing LF Carl Crawford play alongside previous Rays prospect Josh Hamilton just like there were supposed to. … In an mlb.com poll of 150 big-leaguers, LHP David Price was the choice to win the AL Cy Young award. On the other hand, how does Fox's Chris Rose open Tuesday's All-Star Game show calling him what sure sounded like David Rice. … Playing off Evan Longoria's suggestion to Johnny Damon in the Pepsi Refresh commercial, the Rays are hosting a Senior Prom for Senior Citizens at the Aug. 18 game. … The Rays were 22nd in a recent Harris poll asking Americans what their favorite team is, down from a 17th-place tie with Baltimore last year. … Did Price really hit 100 mph in the All-Star Game as the TV numbers showed? "I don't think I did, but I'll take it," he said. "From now on, I'm telling everyone I threw 100."
Got a minute? Andy Sonnanstine
Best meal you can make? I'd have to go with beef stew.
Late-night TV? There's a lot of that. I'm a big fan of Burn Notice.
Karaoke song if you had to? Definitely Wonderwall by Oasis.
Favorite late-night snack? Probably Trix cereal.
Dream date? (Model) Brittany McGraw.
And at other times
Three nondeadline deals by Friedman that have worked out well:
Nov. 28, 2007: Acquired SS Jason Bartlett, RHP Matt Garza and RHP Eduardo Morlan from the Twins for INF Brendan Harris, OF Delmon Young and OF Jason Pridie.
Dec. 11, 2009: Acquired RHP Rafael Soriano from the Braves for RHP Jesse Chavez (who was acquired from the Pirates for 2B Akinori Iwamura, whose option wasn't going to be picked up).
June 20, 2006: Acquired LHP J.P. Howell from the Royals for OF Joey Gathright and INF Fernando Cortez.