Tha Sports Junkies 101

Tampa Bay Rays: New Year, New Team

Tampa Bay Rays: New Year, New Team Image via Sportsgraphics36

MLB

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays have failed to eclipse the .500 mark since they last appeared in the postseason in 2013; posting win totals of 77, 80, and 68 the past three seasons. This combined with a lack of desire to spend on its major league roster, has left veterans like Evan Longoria questioning if management is even trying to win. While not only do they need to upgrade their on field product, they also need to upgrade their stadium, as the “Trop” is constantly referred to as one of the worst parks in all of baseball. Last year, the Rays traded away Matt Moore at the deadline to the San Francisco Giants for a package built around third baseman Matt Duffy and prospect Lucius Fox. While Duffy didn’t get a chance to make much of an impact in his 21 games with the team, he will slide over to shortstop because of franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria. Chris Archer struggled on the mound in 2016 for the Rays, while Jake Odorizzi had a breakout campaign. That breakout season led to speculations of a possible Chris Archer trade.


Off-Season Moves:

The Tampa Bay Rays began the off-season by completing a five player trade that saw shortstop Taylor Motter, and third baseman Richie Schaffer, both who had playing time at the major league level last season, sent to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a trio of prospects who have not made it to the majors in any capacity so far, and can be described as fringe prospects at best. They would also go on to sign catcher Wilson Ramos to the major league roster, but he will be unable to play until roughly June as he suffered a torn ACL last season. Upon his return, Ramos is projected to take some time at DH and possibly first base to help ease the pressure on his knees, but his bat could still make a big impact in a weak line-up. The Rays off-season did not end there as they would go on to complete another trade with the Mariners sending Drew Smyly in exchange for speedy center fielder Mallex Smith, LHP Ryan Yarbrough and shortstop Carlos Vargas. The Rays would also move third baseman Logan Forsythe to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for 24-year-old Jose De Leon, who instantly jumped to their second best prospect despite some executives saying they don’t view him as more than a number four starter due to his durability issues.

Expectations For 2017:

The Tampa Bay Rays will struggle again in 2017, fielding a roster void of major league talent and depth. Watch for them to trade a few names such as Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi, as the franchise has been known to do. Tampa fans can look forward to a possible full season from Blake Snell, and possibly see Jose De Leon and Brett Honeywell at some point this season. Tampa will be near the bottom of the league again and hope to hit on a prospect in the draft, and more than likely trade some more of their players for younger, more controllable assets.

Summary:

While the Rays did make some moves, they did little to improve the on field product in 2017. In the always competitive AL East, don’t expect the Rays to make any improvements or be above .500. All in all, the Tampa Bay Rays traded away more major league talent for prospects amid what seems to be an endless rebuild stage since the loss in the 2013 playoffs.