The Tampa Bay Rays are having an identity crisis.

During baseball’s first six weeks, no team was hotter. Now during the last six weeks, very few teams have been colder.

As it stands, the Rays have fallen from first to third in the AL East. But thanks to their hot start, only three games separate them from the top.

Still, what happens if this free fall doesn’t stop in the next two weeks?

Could the Rays become sellers instead of buyers by the time the July 31st trading deadline rolls around?

Rays general manager Andrew Friedman could be shrewd enough to try to pull it off.

And it would be the smart play.

If the attendance is lagging now, imagine what it’ll be if the Rays are out of the chase. The payroll is already unsustainable, and it might be wise to shave money off the payroll now to help for next season.

Let’s face it. The Rays have to hit it just right to be able to compete with Boston and New York.

If this team cannot cut it, the Rays need to use every resource they have to try to compete for next year.

Next year those resources will probably not include Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Rafael Soriano.

It may not even include Jason Bartlett, Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour, and possibly Matt Garza and James Shields.

The Rays could wait and collect draft picks to replenish their elite farm system as their free agents move on to their new teams. Or, they could restart now by handpicking their return rather than chancing it in the draft.

Here’s a few ideas for the Rays if they decide to retool at the deadline.

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