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As trade deadline approaches, Rays already made a good move

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The Major League Baseball trading deadline ends in 10 days. During the recent past, the Tampa Bay Rays have not been in contention to be a deadline buyer for a player that would get them over the top and into the post season.

Being a Tampa Bay buyer and a buyer for teams like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are two distinctly different things. With their financial situation, the Rays pursue transactions at the Flea Market, while the Yankees and Red Sox are shopping on Rodeo Drive.

Tampa Bay already made a good deal by bringing in shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Miami Marlins. The Rays were attracted to his glove, and any additional offense would be a plus.

Miami gave up on Hechavarria. His career .255 batting average apparently was not enough to go along with his Gold Glove-caliber fielding.

“I think this one really just focused on the emergence of JT (Riddle),” said Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill. The rookie is hitting .250 in 70 games with 8 errors at shortstop.

“Hech” has not disappointed since his arrival in Tampa Bay. He has made the routine plays and some spectacular efforts, highlighted by two memorable plays against the Red Sox earlier this month.

His offense has not disappointed, either. He is batting .268 in his first 16 games for the Rays. On Monday, Hechavarria stroked a two-out single in the 9th inning to tie the game against Oakland in a game the Rays would go on to win, 4-3.

The Rays may make a trade or two in the coming 10 days to further help the team. If so, expect a reliever or a right-handed bat to help them against left handed pitching.

If not, they have already brought in a solid middle infielder who plays championship defense and adds a little offense. The bat, like most players, will go hot and cold, but the glove will always be steady.

Miami’s loss is Tampa Bay’s gain.


Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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