How will the Tampa Bay Rays do this off season?

March 23, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays
by Keith Allison

Question by : How will the Tampa Bay Rays do this off season?
They reduced their payroll from 72 million to mid-40’s million. They are going to lose Crawford, Soriano, maybe Carlos Pena, and have already lost Benoit. They offered 7 of their 9 free agents arbitration, so they might be able to get a lot of high picks out of the 2011 1st year amateur draft. Also, they have the likes of Hellickson, Jennings, and others coming up through the minors into the Bigs. How do you think they will do?

Best answer:

Answer by Judge Ghis
I think this offseason removes them from the list of postseason contenders for at least the next year or 2 (possibly longer, if they can’t unload James Shields). The farm system sounds like it’s doing its job, which is why I think they can return to contention for a postseason berth on condition that they lose Shields.

Best-case scenario for Hellickson in 2011: see David Price, circa 2009.
Worst-case scenario for Hellickson in 2011: see Jason Hammel during his time with the team.

I’m unfamiliar with Jennings, but I have heard something about a possible Crawford replacement coming up from Durham. If Jennings is that guy, he’ll at least be comparable to Brett Gardner during Gardner’s rookie season (if you hate the Yankees, sorry for mentioning one of their players).

Short term, the Rays drop to a .500 team (possibly a few games above or a few games below, depending on what they are able to do with Shields). Long term, they set themselves up to make another run like 2008. If that run doesn’t include Shields, I give them my blessing to “win the whole f’in thing” (quote originates from Tom Berenger, portraying aging catcher Jake Taylor in “Major League”) this time around.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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