American League East Previews – Rays

Today’s focus: Tampa Bay Rays

Coming off a division winning season, you would think the prospects would be sunny for the Rays. However, losing Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, Matt Garza, Grant Balfour, Carlos Pena, Randy Choate, Joaquin Benoit and Jason Bartlett probably changes the thinking just a smidgen.

Joe Maddon still believes Tampa’s goal is to defend last year’s division title. I think that’s an admirable goal, but has about as good a chance of happening as I do of whooping Chuck Liddell in a street fight. While picking up big names in Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez gives the look of a team trying to compete, realistically these are two players who are way past their respective primes. Damon last season in over 500 at bats hit .271 with 8 HR’s, 51 RBI and 81 runs scored. Manny adds to that with 285 at bats last season producing a respectable .298 average, but only 9 HR’s, 42 RBI and 38 runs scored. You could be optimistic about Manny lasting a full season, but to put it into perspective, Crawford alone last year accounted for a .307 average with 19 HR’s, 90 RBI and 110 runs scored. Basically their offensive stats combined.

Notable Losses Include: Half their team as noted above

Notable Pick Ups: Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and not enough else

The Rays have done a good job the last few years with a tight payroll compared to the players in their division. This one definitely looks to be a rebuilding year though and they will be in a fight with Toronto to see who takes the last spot in the division this season.

4 responses to “American League East Previews – Rays

  1. Steve 7 February 2011 at 08:22

    Tampa supposedly has a young guy(Jennings) ready to take Crawford’s place in the OF, but their overall losses are too much to overcome to compete for a division title. I don’t think think that they will finish last in the division. Being a Yankee fan(sorry Mike) I know how good of a manager Joe Madden is and he will have his team ready to play. It is also worth mentioning that Tampa has an awesome farm system…they might not do much this year, but they’ll be re-tooled in a year or two.

    BTW…Nice radio show on Saturday!

  2. Mike 7 February 2011 at 08:50

    2011 was supposed to be Desmond’s year, but the signing of Manny and Damon all but assure Jennings will start at AAA.
    That being said, if this is a “building year,” might as well get him experience this year.
    Spring Training will tell us a lot. I actually think Dan Johnson is a bit of a sleeper, but if Damon plays 1B over him, that opens up an OF spot for DJ.

  3. Brian 7 February 2011 at 10:00

    Thanks for the input Steve. Agreed, their farm system is very good. Maddon’s also a good coach. But to win in that league you’ve gotta have some studs in the big leagues and I’m just not seeing them this season in Tampa.

  4. Killboy 7 February 2011 at 19:45

    Who is this team’s leadoff hitter? Damon? Upton?

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