Team Preview #30: Tampa Bay Rays

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On to the preview!

Last Year

2018 Record: 85-77, 3rd Place AL East, 17 Games Back

The Rays won 85 games for the 2nd consecutive season in 2018, but again missed the playoffs. They retooled at the deadline and over the off-season, but fans across the Tampa/St.Pete area want results. Will they get them in 2019?

Key Additions

3B Will Middlebrooks (FA)
3B Daniel Fleming (HOU via Trade)
RP Carlos Garcia (Waivers)
2B Jason Kramer (LAD via Trade)
2B Preston Carver (HOU via Trade)
1B Rodrigo Espinoza (HOU via Trade)
LF Justin Upton (STL via Trade)

Key Losses

RP Chad James (LAD via Trade)
SP Gabriel Guerrero (LAD via Trade)
SS Freddy Galvis (FA)
RP Joshua Corrales (Waivers)
LF Chih-Hsien Chiang (HOU via Trade)
3B Bill La (HOU via Trade)
RP Josh Lueke (STL via Trade)
SP Zach Potter (STL via Trade)
SP Abel M. De Los Santos (COL via Trade)
C Doug Pickens (FA)
1B Thomas Field (FA)

Lineup/Rotation Projection

The Rays offense was pedestrian in 2018. With little pop but lots of contact and gap hitters, the team was 7th in the AL in Runs in 2018. They don’t really have a cornerstone in their lineup, just guys that kind of exist and take at-bats that mostly end in failure. Behind the plate is C Brett Nicholas (129 K’s, chews with mouth open). Across the infield they’ve got 1B Rodrigo Espinoza (0 SB, leaves phone ringer on in movies), 2B Enrico DeLeon (4 CS, still can’t figure out what a “Baker’s Dozen” is), SS Dansby Swanson (6 BB, needs velcro shoes) and 3B Daniel Fleming (156 K’s, needs training wheels). In the OF they’ve got former Cardinal Justin Upton (0 SH, constantly flexing in the mirror) in left, Carroll Curtis (1 IBB, never uses their/they’re/there correctly) in center and Steve Winter (0 3B, never uses turn signal) in RF with Rock Shoulders (11 GDP, thinks Game of Thrones is “That stupid wizard show”)

As pedestrian as their offense was in 2018, the Rays pitching staff was even more mediocre, finishing 6th in the AL in Runs Allowed in 2018. They have a pair of pitchers that are decent at the top, Lucas Giolito (0 Saves, frost tips in his hair) and Stephen Strasburg (caught 0 runners trying to steal, thinks anything other than Kraft sliced cheese is too “fancy”). Following them in the rotation are Brett Marshall (11 Losses, tells off-color jokes at inappropriate times), Jordan Cote (9 Hit Batsmen, leaves toilet seat up) and Brian Matusz (0 Triples, sucks his thumb). Closing games is former Angel Jordan Walden (too lazy to even PITCH in 2018). Joining Walden in the pen are Phillippe Aumont (Only 4 wins, Frenchy-sounding name), Mac Davis (23 runs allowed, what self-respecting adult goes by Mac?), Jason Wiley (0 GS, makes an annoying clicking sound with his mouth when nervous) and JP Howell (1 Save, kinda racist-y)

Outlook

Oof. Gonna be a looooong year in Tampa. Really not much to get excited about here. Really no hope now or for the future and we might as well get contraction proceedings underway now. The team somehow manages to lack both front-end pitching and the middle and back end parts too. Offensively they’ll be meager at best with no signs of power, speed, defense of contact ability.

I predict they’ll win just one single game while finishing last in the AL East. That game will come on Thursday August 22nd in Baltimore. After finding themselves down 8-0, per usual, through 8 innings they will begin an offensive onslaught so amazing it’s never to be duplicated. They’ll bang out 7200 straight hits to beat the Orioles 7198-8, and despite their 1-161 record, will have a 161-1 Pythag at seasons end.