The Rays took one on the chin this off-season, two fold. On the one hand they lost Carl Crawford. One the other hand, they lost him to an AL East rival, the Boston Red Sox. That has got to hurt, doesn’t it? Despite the loss of Crawford, the Rays are still going to be good. Everyone else remains the same and they did sign two veteran players in Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. They both still have gas left in the tank and will be able to help this team. Manny can still give you 15 – 20 home runs and Damon can still be clutch. They can also count on a lot less strikeouts and a lot more hits out of first base even if there is a platoon of Kotchman and Damon because they are now free of Carlos Pena. Moving over to the starting rotation it is the same as last year with a little added experience. David Price leads the staff and was the runner up to King Felix for the Cy Young award last year. The rest of the rotation will be rounded out by Jeff Niemann, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, and a fight for the last spot which looks to be won by Andy Sonnanstine. The closer position is up in the air. The Rays lost Rafael Soriano to the Yankees and will now look to either veteran Kyle Farnsworth or hard throwing rookie, Jake McGee.
The Rays are going to fight the Yankees for second place and they will win that battle and will be good enough to take the wild card in the American League in 2011.