Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays: Let the Offseason Fun Begin

By Timothy Pease
PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - MARCH 25: Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays watches batting practice just before the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Charlotte Sports Complex on March 25, 2013 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - MARCH 25: Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays watches batting practice just before the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Charlotte Sports Complex on March 25, 2013 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) /
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It will be a very interesting off-season for the Rays, as there will be many new additions mostly due to their impending free agents.

Now that the World Series is officially over let the speculation and off-season moves begin.  Many Tampa Bay Rays fans were hoping former Rays Logan Forsythe and Andrew Friedman would win the World Series with the Dodgers like Joe Maddon did the previous year with the Cubs.

While it didn’t happen, it is still a feel good story with the hurricane disaster in Houston and considering that Houston did call Tropicana Field home for a series this past season, you could say that the Rays were a part of the World Series is a way.

Now that it is the off-season teams are turning the page and focusing on the 2018 season.  While we don’t know is what will happen over the next few months, there is one thing we are certain of and that is that there will be some new players and some new coaches in Tampa.

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Unfortunately, like most off-seasons the Rays will end up losing many key players to free agency since they don’t have the budget to resign all players.  Longtime Rays pitcher Alex Cobb will be taking his talents elsewhere and finally getting a big payday that he deserves.

The Rays also lose both players at first base since Lucas Duda and the resurgent Logan Morrison are likely to receive much longer contracts than the ones last season.  The biggest loss will be to the bullpen now that Tommy Hunter, Steve Cishek, and Sergio Romo are all free agents.

Hunter had his best season in the majors and one could argue that he was the Rays best overall pitcher in 2017.  Cishek and Romo both came to the Rays at the trade deadline and both were worth obtaining. Cishek continued to be the dominate relief pitcher he has been and Romo turned his career around and was pitching like he used to when he was the closer for the Giants in the World Series a few years ago. 

Peter Bourjos and Trevor Plouffe also are free agents but they are just bench players and can easily be replaced.  So be prepared to for a handful of new faces for next season.

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One positive for the Rays is that they has multiple key players miss the entire 2017 season so those players will now be back with the team and could be key contributors.  Matt Duffy will be a key addition in the middle infield.  He was acquired in the Matt Moore trade and was supposed to be the shortstop for years to come but a heal issue had sidelined him this past year.

While Adeiny Hechavarria is now the everyday shortstop I can see Duffy taking over at second base for the struggling Brad Miller.  Another big addition is Nathan Eovaldi, fans may recall him from his time with the New York Yankees.

He had the now common Tommy John surgery and the Rays took a risk on him signing him to a two-year deal knowing they would only get one year out of him hoping that he can be the dominate pitcher he used to be.

Two other players added back to the 40-man roster were pitchers Taylor Guerrieri and Shawn Tolleson. While neither are not huge additions they should be able to help out in the bullpen.

It will be a very interesting off-season for the Rays.  They were right in the mix all season for a postseason spot but fell just short.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Matt Silverman Shifting Roles

Also the always interesting topic of a new stadium for the Rays in Tampa is picking up steam. For those who haven’t followed it it looks like the Rays will be building a stadium in Ybor city, but many things will need to happen first for that to become a reality.

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