Tampa Bay Rays Off Season Report

Season Wrap Up
Who would have imagined that the newly renamed Rays would have made history in 2008? After finishing last in the AL East in 2007, they finished first in 2008, surpassing the mighty Yankees and Red Sox with their 97 wins. Not only did they win the AL East, but they also won the AL Pennant as well. Their incredible run ended at the hands of the Phillies in the World Series as the team from the City of Brotherly Love beat the Rays in 5 games. But you can’t help but like the reincarnation of the Rays under 2008 Manager of the Year, Joe Maddon. They are going to be good for a while as long as they can stay healthy.

Holes to Fill
The Rays need a new closer unless Troy Percival can stay healthy in 2009 and possibly another bat in RF to replace any of the players in the revolving door that was RF in 2008. Other than that and maybe another arm in the bullpen like all of the other teams in baseball, they should be in good shape for another strong year in 2009.

Free Agents
The Rays do have four free agents in OF Rocco Baldelli, OF/DH Cliff Floyd, OF/1B/3B/DH Eric Hinske and RP Trever Miller. Floyd is probably gone and they might have lost their patience with Baldelli and his multiple injury-filled seasons also. Hinske, after this bounce back year he had, especially in the power department, will probably look toget a starting opportunity elsewhere. This leaves them with Trever Miller who I don’t see why they wouldn’t resign.

As far as possible free agent aquisitions, I think aquiring OF Ken Griffey, Jr. makes the most sense for the Rays. His experience, leadership, bat,attitude and popularity would fit in Tampa all too well in my estimation. I’m not sure who they should go for to back up Percival as their closer. With Percival in place, they can’t go after K-Rod, plus he’d be too expensive, and Trevor Hoffman would want to be the closer from day one and rightfully so. Maybe they’ll just go another season with a Balfour and Wheeler again, but I think that might be a mistake.

The Outlook
I see the Rays giving the Yankees and Red Sox another run for their money in 2009, but I also see th Sox seeing comingin second to them this year as somewhat of an embarrassment an making a move or two that will ensure that the Rays finish no better than second place. I do, however; see them in te playoffs once again and unless the face Boston, might just find themselves in the World Series once again.

One Comment

  1. Rose

    May 27, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Great article.The lack of bullpen additions is in anticipation that Mitch Talbot and Jeff Niemann will be able to slide into the bullpen and be above average in that role, also with Wade Davis needing another couple of months in Durham,he could definitely go down the Joba path.



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