Losing star 3B Evan Longoria has made it very noticible how bad of an offensive team they are. They do not have a regular player hitting anywhere near .300, as injured OF Matt Joyce leads the team with his .279 AVG and SS Elliot Johnson is next hitting just .268. (Longoria was hitting .329 when he went on the DL after 82 ABs and reserve Jeff Keppinger has hit .322 in 115 ABs.) This team gets a lot of credit for their play over the last four seasons, and they deserve that. But, if they are going to have any chance to make the AL playoffs, let alone make postseason noise, they need to have players in place that can produce better than the ones who have played this season. Guys like Ben Zobrist, BJ Upton, Desmond Jennings and Carlos Pena have all underperformed and the rest of the lineup probably would not start on a lot of other teams.
It is amazing to me that they traded two catchers, John Jaso and Kelly Shoppach this offseason and left the starting job to Jose Molina. They have gotten what was to be expected offensively from him, a .198 AVG with 4 HR and 14 RBI in 126 ABs. Johnson is not an offensive player and neither is 3B/2B Sean Rodriguez, who is hitting .211, 5, 22. Luke Scott was brought in to be a power hitter and despite 9 HR, is hitting just .207. Hideki Matsui has hit just .177 since being signed as a free agent during the season, making a lot of GMs look good for not signing him in the offseason.
I understand that the players I mentioned in the last paragraph will represent three spots in the team's lineup as soon as Longoria and Joyce return. This is why this is more an indictment on Zobrist, Jennings, Upton and Pena. Pena has never been much of an average hitter and has 11 HRs, but is hitting .199. (he hit less than .200 in 2010 when he last played for the Rays.) Zobrist has been on a steady decline since last season, and currently is hitting .256, 10, 32. Jennings is .238, 5, 31 and Upton is not making a good case for his impending free agency with his .240, 5, 26 line.
They say good pitching beats good hitting. And thats the only way the Rays stay in this race this season. The lack of offense has effected them now worse than ever. Should they attempt to acquire a bat such as Carlos Lee, Carlos Quentin or Alfonso Soriano? If they don't want to throw this season away, they should acquire a slugger immediately.