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07/21/08 12:00 PM ET

Mailbag: Who is on the trading block?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers Rays fans' questions

The Rays have already labeled Josh Hamilton "the one that got away," so can't we just take our losses and trade to get him? We can slot him in right field. We have an absolute surplus of talent on the farm and a lot of guys are stopped in their progress. We could trade Jeff Niemann, Mitch Talbot, Reid Brignac and Joel Guzman, plus a player to be named for Hamilton. The deal would be good for Texas and Tampa Bay, and then at least we won't have to ask ourselves the "what if" question.
-- Willem W., Manila, Philippines

I'm sure the Rays, as well as most teams in baseball, would like to acquire Hamilton, who is having an off-the-charts season. So I don't see the Rangers opting to trade one of the best hitters in the Major Leagues for Minor League players, no matter what the futures of those players look like.

I believe that the Rays have to make a key trade to get a hitter that hits for average before the July 31 Trade Deadline. This losing streak has proven the point too, because there have been few runs scored during it. I think the club should go for Matt Holliday. He has consistently hit for average during the span of his career and he has good pop. He plays in the outfield and would be perfect for the Rays in right. Tampa Bay has plenty of prospects to trade for him and I am sure he would love to play with the Rays. Do you think Holliday is a perfect fit? If not Holliday who would they go for?
-- Chris M., St. Petersburg

I think Holliday would be a great fit. There's just one slight problem: the Rockies want David Price. In my opinion, Price is the one untouchable guy in the Rays' farm system.

I am a little concerned about Carl Crawford's health. He keeps complaining about his knee and how the turf is bad on his legs. Is there any way to prevent this pain besides having him stay off the field?
-- Matt G., Westport, Conn.

Obviously, I'm not a doctor, so I can only give you an opinion. If I were the Rays, I would have Crawford DH a game or two during long homestands to give him a break from the artificial surface. Maybe even have him sit out against a tough left-hander. Keeping him healthy is important to the success of the club.

How long are we going to have to wait on Price? He is dominating the lower Minor Leagues and looks like he should be in Durham already. Other rookies have done it, and he looks to be even more talented than most.
-- Pat W., Tulsa, Okla.

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Price is now 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA at Double-A Montgomery. Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, recently stated that development is king. When Price reaches the Major Leagues, the Rays want him to be ready and not have to go back down. However, Friedman's comments did indicate that he has not ruled out Price being a part of this year's team at some point.

I just wanted to say that what the Rays are doing this season brings tears to my eyes. I worked at Tropicana Field as an usher when the upper deck was a ghost town and I just think this is wonderful, and like we used to say, "Just be patient!" The new ownership had a game plan, and to their credit they stuck to it, and we now see how it is paying off. Go Rays!
-- John A., Williams, Ariz.

I think there are a lot of fans who are thinking the same thing as you, John.

With the Rays really struggling on defense and starting to give up the long ball during their current losing streak, and with their struggles with runners in scoring position, are we starting to see the real Rays team now? The way they are losing looks like the teams of the past that can't hold a lead.
-- Pat W., Tulsa, Okla.

Yeah, the Rays didn't look so hot during their seven-game losing streak, but every team experiences some kind of funk during a 162-game season. I think the fact they are so far over .500 at this point in the season is a good indication this is not a Rays team from the past.

Jonny Gomes is struggling to say the least. He's one of my favorite players, but why hasn't he been demoted to try and work on getting his swing back?
-- Sam S., Lakeland, Fla.

I will agree with you, Gomes is like most players in that everyday play is going to help his results. Unfortunately for Gomes, he hasn't been able to land that everyday role, and the results have reflected that. I doubt Gomes would welcome a trip to Durham, but he might -- given the chance it would give him time to get his game in order.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.