The Tampa Bay Rays struggled through a challenging season yet have many options available to improve upon their ball club. The 66 wins in 2016 were the fewest for the franchise since the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Immediate needs include upgrading the team’s offensive production which averaged only 4.15 runs per game or 24th of 30 teams. The stock pile of starting pitchers accrued may assist in gaining a bat or two in order to get the Rays back in line with league average.
Tampa Bay has started the offseason by adding catcher Wilson Ramos, formerly of the Washington Nationals, to a two year deal worth 12.5 million dollars. Ramos completed his best season in 2016 producing 22 home runs, 80 runs batted in, and batting .307. He earned a Silver Slugger award and participated in his first All-Star game. Ramos will improve upon the Ray’s offense as long as his health permits. He ended the 2016 regular season with a week left by tearing his ACL and meniscus. The Rays are hopeful that Ramos will be ready to take on the everyday catching duties by May 2017 http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/tampa-bay-rays. Insurance was added for the start of the year when the Rays signed Michael McKenry to a minor league contract worth $900 thousand. McKenry, Luke Maile, and Curt Casali will serve as the Rays catchers until Ramos is ready for action.
There have been many relievers moving on to different teams as of late including Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman, and Mark Melancon. Many teams are looking at Ray’s closer Alex Colome who turned in a career year performance. The 27 year old Colome secured 37 saves with a 1.91 earned run average, 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings, and logging 56 innings of work. The Rays are hopeful that they can secure a deal with the Washington Nationals who lost Mark Melancon to the San Francisco Giants. The Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds are seeking starting pitching and all signs point to the Rays being willing to rid of any of their five starters at the right price. An interested team would have to give up quite a bit to obtain Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi since their present contracts are team friendly for the next four years. Yet the Rays seem willing to deal Drew Smyly, Alex Cobb, and Erasmo Ramirez in order to continue to upgrade the offense.