Matt Joyce came into pinch-hit for Jose Molina during Tuesday’s 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He flied out to right in his lone at-bat. With the loss, the Tampa Bay Rays fell to 31-48 — a major-league worst.
Despite the hype and World Series aspirations coming into the season, it’s irrefutable the Rays, who have produced a winning-record since 2008, will be sellers at the trade deadline.
The Rays’ front office has shown in the past they are proactive, and there’s no reason to think this year will be an aberration from that approach. Especially, because, for the first time in a while, the Rays aren’t very good. So, this means players such as Ben Zobrist, David Price, and Matt Joyce will most likely be switching uniforms.
Earlier in the week, I explored if the lack of left-handed hitters on the Detroit Tigers was hurting them. While I did find that having just one left-handed bat in the lineup on a consistent basis barely had an impact on Detroit, it was evident that they could use a left-handed bench bat.
Currently, Don Kelly, the lone left-handed hitter on the bench, has churned a weak .233/.313/.291 slash line in 96 plate appearances. He’s not getting the job done, and it’s time for them to move on.
As we’ve seen time and time again, depth is a crucial element for teams to succeed. Last year’s World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, had more depth than anybody. A playoff bench of Mike Carp, Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks, and David Ross gave them flexibility.
To fortify their bench, Detroit should pursue Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Matt Joyce.
Joyce, age 29, began his career with the Tigers in 2008. His tenure in the Motor City, however, was short and a year later was in a Rays uniform. Since then, he’s experienced ups and downs with Tampa. That said, it’s obvious throughout his career he’s been an above-average bat with an exceptional .251/.342/.448 career clip.
He wouldn’t cost much at all, and provides the Tigers with much-needed depth. The real question should be; why not?