Hey, Rays still can get Juan Soto. You just need to wait until he’s 35

ST. PETERSBURG — When you have a centerfielder hitting .147, you obviously need to upgrade.

So the Rays acquired a centerfielder hitting .178.

Yeah, that’s the snarky version of the trade deadline in Tampa Bay. With the Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays and Mariners all hitting the gas this week in search of an American League pennant, the Rays are still driving with their turn signal on.

And you know what?

It feels like the right choice.

Sure, it’s hard to watch the Yankees acquire Frankie Montas, the Astros get Christian Vazquez and the Padres try to hoard every impact player in the National League while the Rays went for defensive wizard Jose Siri in centerfield and soon-to-be 35-year-old David Peralta in left.

But context matters, and here’s the unspoken reality:

The Rays are not going to catch the Yankees in the American League East.

Oh, it’s possible New York has an epic collapse and the Rays suddenly go on a winning streak, but the computer model at Baseball Prospectus puts the chances at about 0.4 percent.

So that means the Rays are essentially playing for a wild card over the final 57 games of the season. That’s undoubtedly important. And the Rays have struggled enough in the past month that making the postseason is no longer the slam dunk it once seemed to be.

But the Rays made the calculation that the hitters they have returning from the injured list…

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