MLB Offseason Preview: Tampa Bay Raysby Rephael Negnewitzky December 2, 2021 0 comments
The Tampa Bay Rays have always been a solid team, but this season was their best yet. Everything clicked for them; their offense was electric and their rotation/bullpen dominated. Led by Brandon Lowe and Andrew Kittredge in the bullpen, Tampa always pulled through in big spots. Sadly, they were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. On the bright side, they were the champs of the AL East with a record of 100-62.
Throughout the 2021 season, the Rays made some big moves that assisted them in a big way. They received Drew Rasmussen from the Milwaukee Brewers, which gave a considerable boost to the team. One of the biggest trades for Tampa during the season was with the Minnesota Twins for Nelson Cruz. They sent Drew Strotman and Joe Ryan in exchange for Cruz and Calvin Faucher. The changes helped the Rays shine throughout the 2021 season. However, it was not enough, and now they have a lot to accomplish in the offseason.
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As the offseason begins, there are many tasks the Rays need to accomplish, whether it’s signing a starting pitcher or giving Randy Arozarena an extension. There are quite a few holes in the Tampa rotation, and a lot needs to be patched up. Also, the bullpen is inconsistent and falling apart to injuries. Frankly, the Rays have a lot to clean up at the pitching side. On the offensive side, the Rays could use some help, especially at first base. Ji-Man Choi has been struggling mightily, and targeting another first baseman is not a bad idea.
Keys to the Offseason
Add Starting Pitching
This past 2021 season, the Rays struggled immensely searching for a solid rotation. At times, they scrambled to figure out who would be the starter for a game. Although the bullpen did a great job assisting the starters, the Rays are in desperate need of pitching. There are many options for them to turn to, and the Rays general manager Erik Neander should start shopping. From Marcus Stroman to Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon.
Extend Young Stars
While the Rays gave a huge 11-year deal to Wander Franco, there is another player Tampa should extend. Randy Arozarena, who is only 26, currently plays a significant role for Tampa. Giving Arozarena a six or seven-year deal can provide the Rays with a base to build around. Franco and Arozarena are both players who the Rays should develop and make them into stars.
Marcus Stroman, 33, Starting Pitcher
Although Tampa signed 35-year-old Corey Kluber, the Rays could use someone to back him up. Stroman would be the perfect fit for that role. He’s only 30-years-old and can give a huge boost to their rotation. This past season he held a 3.02 ERA along with 158 strikeouts. Reeling in Stroman could be the piece the Rays are missing in their rotation. If Tampa were to sign Stroman, it would be a two or three-year deal.
Anthony Rizzo, 32, First Baseman
The Rays could use a new first baseman as Choi has been struggling over the past few years. A great option to turn to is Rizzo. The former New York Yankee player has great power and a stellar glove. Although, signing Rizzo would only go for a few years as he’s already in his 30’s. If the Rays pursue in Rizzo, he would be a great addition to the infield.
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