Welcome to baseball’s crazy season.

With 2 ½ weeks until the trade deadline, and 19 teams entering play Saturday sitting in or within 2½ games of a playoff spot, there will be a staggering amount of speculation, analyzing and even some consummation.

Lists of top trade candidates, best fits and the one deal each team has to make are flying around. And the Rays are right in the middle of it.

They have motivation, trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Clear needs for improvement, seeking experienced relievers, maybe a bat and possibly a starter. And the capital to do so, in terms of prospects to give and salary to be taken on.

Given the situation it would be surprising if they didn’t make at least a couple deals.

“What we think of this group and the way they’ve played so far it certainly motivates us to want to help them out however we can,” senior VP Chaim Bloom said. “We want to make sure we do that responsibly, that we’re staying true to our goal of competing sustainably and be able to do this consistently over a number of years. Anything we can do to help them out is something we’re certainly going to look at.”

The overall process will be interesting to watch. Some moves will be made sooner, as teams seek to jump the market, or get an extra week or two of their return. But most deals will come closer to the July 31 deadline. Shoppers can wait to see if prices come down. Teams on the fringe of contention can decide whether to sell. Others, like the Rays, have to be aggressive given the standings.