We continue looking at the 30 MLB teams as they head into the 2021 season. And on this piece, we examine The State of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Trading Away Blake Snell/Acquiring Luis Patiño
The Tampa Bay Rays would shock the world when they would trade away their “ace” Blake Snell. Tampa would send Blake to the San Diego Padres for a package that included Luis Patiño. When it comes to the Tampa Bay Rays and their evaluations of players, they are some of the game’s best evaluators. Moving on from Snell for a top prospect like Patiño should not be seen as a forfeiture by Tampa. Rather it should be a sign of Patiño’s coming brilliance. And the rest of the American League East should be aware.
Rich Hill & Collin McHugh Signing
The Rays seem to find diamonds in the rough. And they also seem to reignite seemingly dead careers. Now, the careers of Rich Hill and Collin McHugh aren’t over by any stretch. But that being said, they will likely get a revamping of their current levels by Tampa’s research and development department. Both starters can take the ball through the order a couple of times, and then Tampa’s bullpen can take over from there.
Signing (Back) Chris Archer
Another pitcher that will benefit from the Ray’s R & D department is that of Chris Archer. Archer, the former Ray, is back with the team. And his return could signal a return to form, something that was lost since his trading to return Pirates in 2018.
Resigning Mike Zunino, Oliver Drake, & Chaz Roe
For the Tampa Bay Rays, the resignings of Mike Zunino, Chaz Roe, and Oliver Drake aren’t going to break the headline news, but they are important signings. All three players provide the Rays with an extra level of depth going into the 2021 season.
State of the Rotation
When to comes to the Tampa Bay Rays and their rotation, it is ever-evolving. Tampa seemingly finds a way each and every season to mix and match their way to success. And the 2021 season should be no different for Tampa Bay. The Rays have lost two of their five starters from a year ago. However, as previously stated, the Rays have replenished their firepower in a way few teams can do. The loss of Charlie Morton and Blake Snell was supplanted by Chris Archer, Rich Hill, Collin McHugh, and Luis Patiño. Tampa Bay always seems to find a way to succeed, and it’s usually on the strength of their rotation.
State of the Bullpen
For the Tampa Bay Rays, the bullpen is their bread and butter. Just like the rotation, Tampa mixes and matches and plugs in whoever; wherever they are needed. And every season, it feels like a new flamethrowing squad is getting outs for the Rays. Tampa Bay has also been at the forefront of the “bullpenning” revolution in Major League Baseball, and 2021 should be no different for the Florida franchise.
State of the Offense
We continue the conversation of the Tampa Bay Rays with a look at their offensive skillset. And exactly as it is with the rest of the Rays roster, it is extremely versatile. The mixing and matching of the pitching staff also extends perfectly with the Rays lineup. Everyone on the team gets moved around (except for a key few like Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier, just to name a couple.) Tampa Bay will likely find themselves in the hunt for the AL East crown or, at minimum, the AL Wildcard. However, the offense will be tested in a tough division and even tougher league.
State of the Franchise
When examining the state of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise in 2021, the most easily recognizable factor is the team’s versatility. Nearly all of the position players are capable of playing multiple positions. Their relief pitchers are capable of being thrown into nearly any situation, including starting. And their starters have versatile skillsets as well. Tampa Bay will face new challenges in 2021 as each season differs from the last. The team can manage all of the season’s highs and lows with multiple players ready on command to jump into the fray.