The Yankees and Rays faced each other for the weekend series at St. Petersburg. This series has its significance not only for the standings, but it came down to which team made their moves.

On this Saturday, it was the Yankees that outmaneuvered the Rays in bolstering the club, and then after the deadline was over, the Yankees beat the Rays on the scoreboard to even the series at one.

The Yankees came out on top as always when it comes to trade deadline day. It’s been that way forever, and that’s never going to change. When a franchise makes money like the Yankees made forever, they can afford to do these things.

The next time Hal Steinbrenner talks about how his team is going to run on a budget, just react with guffaw. The late George Steinbrenner used to talk about how he would like to have his team on a budget too, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

The Yankees acquired Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns Friday night, and before yesterday’s game, they acquired Kerry Wood. Meanwhile, all the Rays could muster was acquiring Chad Qualls from the Diamondbacks, and he was only acquired after they found out Grant Balfour would lose time after a left rib injury.

It does not take a baseball neophyte to know who came out good here.

The Yankees did not need to do anything. They are good enough to win it all with the roster as it is, but they found a way to get it done. The Rays didn’t.

What should be galling is the Yankees got their reinforcements by giving up nothing. That’s the advantage the Yankees have, which teams are willing to unload salary for the Yankees to pay though the Astros will pay Berkman’s salary.

The Rays should have found a way to get at least a designated hitter. The Rays tried, but trying is not good enough. The Rays lineup have too many easy outs, and five of their hitters are hitting at .235.

To compound their problems, Carlos Pena left the game Saturday night with a sore foot and Ben Zobrist missed the series against the Yankees. Both are day-to-day.

Rays president of baseball operations Andrew Freidman knew he had to do something. This offense isn’t cutting it.

There’s no question runs will be at a minimum in the postseason, and the Rays have several easy outs in their lineup. That’s an advantage the opposing pitcher will have
in October, which is why playoff teams believe the Rays are vulnerable.

In fact, there is no guarantee the Rays will make the playoffs. The Rays have a nice cushion in the wild-card lead, and they kept up with the Yankees by winning consistently, but a long losing streak takes place if the team is in a hitting rut.

We saw that in June when the Rays struggled to hit, and they went on a long losing streak.  It can happen again, and the final two months of the season are not the right time to struggle.

Adam Dunn, who the Rays were rumored to get, was the perfect fit to what the Rays are looking for. He will strike out often, but at least he is going to rake the ball out of the park. The Rays could have gotten Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui or Luke Scott.

No question the Rays are in a tough position. As a small-market team, they can’t afford to give up prospects with the idea those guys will be the core players
next year. Still, they can afford to give up at least one prospect. If Wade Davis is what teams wanted for a hitter, that deal should have been done. The Rays have plenty of depth when it comes to starters.

The Rays will talk about how it’s not a lost cause if they don’t get a deal. They will mention that Dan Johnson and Desmond Jennings can proven an offensive boost to the team.

The problem with that thinking is it’s too much to ask out of rookies to make a difference. Those two have to learn how to hit in the majors, and that’s a tough adjustment to make right away.

No one should have been surprised the Rays did not make a deal after what Joe Maddon said to the media prior to Friday night’s game.

Maddon expressed no optimism that a deal would happen. He talked about how it will be the eleventh hour, but he also mentioned options at their farm system.

Maybe the Rays find that hitter after the non-waiver trade deadline. It’s possible, but there’s a good chance the Yankees or the Red Sox will do whatever it takes to block the Rays. The Rays couldn’t take that risk.

If failing to make a deal discouraged the baseball public in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, the game did not turn out to be better.

The Yankees and the Rays traded runs for most of the night, and in the end, the Yankees won the battle on Robinson Cano’s home run off Rafael Soriano in the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera saved it for the Yankees in protecting a 5-4 lead.

The Rays deserved to lose because they knew they could not get involved in a home run derby race with the Yankees. It never ends up well for any team. To beat the Yankees, teams need to shut them down for several innings.

Now, the Yankees have the edge to go win the series with CC Sabathia on the mound tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday simply was a day to forget for the Rays.


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