Jan. 12, 2018
All quiet for the Rays as they prepare for 2018
As the calendar turns to 2018, its that time of year when the countdown begins to the opening of spring training and the beginning of the baseball season.
In just 36 days the trucks will roll in to Port Charlotte as pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb 13th with the first workout slated for Feb. 14th. Position players will report five days later on the 18th with their first workout on the 19th. The first Grapefruit League game will be on Feb 23rd as the Rays will host the Pirates.
After the trade of Evan Longoria to the Giants I expected at least two more trades and they still could happen. I still think Alex Colome will get traded before the season and either Chris Archer or Jake Ordorizzi will get traded as well. Pitching has always been the strength of the Rays. They have lost James Shields, David Price, and Matt Moore and have had guys like Matt Andriese, Blake Snell, and Jacob Faria ready to step into the rotation from Durham.
What kind of team can we expect to see on the field for the Rays in 2018? A team that will have to learn to play little ball to manufacture some runs as the Rays do not have a lot of power. Yes Brad Miller could hit 30 home runs as he did in 2015, but that is 50/50 at this point. In his limited time playing last season, we saw no indication that Miller would regain his 2015 form. With Longoria and Logan Morrison gone, the Rays lost 68 Home runs. They have no one on the roster that can pick up that kind of production except for Miller.
Wilson Ramos will be the starting catcher. First to third the Rays will line up with Brad Miller, Dan Robertson, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Matt Duffy. Left to right the Rays will go with Denard Span, Kevin Keirmaier, and Steven Souza. Corey Dickerson will be the DH. The Rays will also give a good look to Jake Bauers who can ply the OF and 1B.
The starting rotation is pretty well set. Chris Archer, Jake Ordorizz, Matt Andriese, Blake Snell, and Jacob Faria will make up the starting five. Should the Rays trade Archer or Ordorizzi, Nathan Eovaldi and Jose De Leon would be given consideration for the fifth spot.
The Rays have some issues in the bullpen Wether or not they trade Colome. should the Rays trade Colem, Dan Jennings has the most experience and could possibly fill the closers role. The rest of the pen has Andrew Kitteredge, Chaz Roe, Ryne Stanek, Austin Pruitt, and Jose Alvarado.
I would think The Rays would be looking at a free agent or two to with some experince to bring in and help out in the pen.
As the Rays look to cut payroll a couple of other scenario’s could develop. The Rays could trade Wilson Ramos and Adeiny Hechavarria the second half of the season to a contender and take a look at some of the young kids.
The changing of the guard is happening right before our eyes as the Rays get younger and look to have a competitive team ready for the new stadium.
Kevin Cash will definitely earn his money this year as a lot of players will be seeing their first extended playing time in the big leagues. It will be difficult for the Rays to match the 80 wins of last season. It looks like to be another long summer in Tampa Bay.