The 2 Histories of the Tampa Bay Baseball Club
The Tampa Bay Franchise started in MLB in 1998 as the Devil Rays. The team played for 10 seasons while known as the Devil Rays. During that ten year stretch 1998 – 2007 the team never won more than 70 games. Their losses were always 90+ and 3 times they were 100+. In those 10 seasons the team finished last in the AL East in 9 of them. They were simply a laughable loser of a franchise.
The highlight of the Devil Rays existence was Wade Boggs signing with them for the last 2 seasons of his career. Boggs reached 3000 career hits in a Devil Rays uniform. As a matter of fact when Boggs entered the Hall of Fame as a Red Sox there was some controversy as there was a rumor his contract with the Tampa Bay stipulated he would wear a Devil Rays hat when elected.
Wade Boggs – Tampa Bay Devil Rays
The Name Change
In 2008 the team dropped the word Devil from their name becoming simply the Tampa Bay Rays. That same season the club won 97 games and advanced all the way to the World Series. Baseball being the most superstitious of sports I would have to say we’ll never see another baseball team with the name Devil in it.
As the Tampa Bay Rays the team has appeared in the post season 6 times and the World Series twice. Unfortunately for Rays’ fans they have lost the World Series in both appearances.
2008 Tampa Bay Rays 1 Philadelphia Phillies 4
2020 Tampa Bay Rays 2 Los Angeles Dodgers 4
2020 Tampa Bay Rays
Last season the Rays surprised the baseball world when they advanced to the World Series. The Rays Payroll in 2020 was $28.3m while the New York Yankees Payroll was $109.4m. The team the Rays lost to in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a payroll of $105.7m. So while the Rays don’t spend a lot on player salaries the Rays Management has proven exceptional when it comes to finding and developing young players.
In 2020 the Rays finished 21st in the Major Leagues with a Team Batting Average on only .238. However, the team finished 3rd in the Major Leagues with a team ERA of 3.56. In other words Pitching carried the team last season and will most likely be the key to the team’s success in 2021. Third baseman Yandy Diaz led the team in batting last season with a .307 and second baseman Brandon Lowe led the team with 14 home runs. Last season the team won 2 out of every 3 games finishing the abbreviated 60 game season with a record of 40-20. If they were to do that over a full 162 game season they would finish 108-54.
Tampa Bay Rays – Trades and Free Agents
The biggest development in the off-season was the Rays trade of Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres. Snell won the American League Cy Young Award in 2018 and was the ace of the Rays staff. However in return for Snell the Rays acquired 2 pitchers and 2 catchers from the Padres. The pitchers are the class of the trade; 21 year old Luis Patino who is a lock to make the Rays roster in 2021 and 21 year old Cole Wilcox who is a 6’5” right-hander. The two catchers are Francisco Mejia and Blake Hunt.
In addition to trading Snell the Rays also lost veteran right-hander Charlie Morton in Free Agency when he signed with the Atlanta Braves. The Rays did pickup 40 year old left-hander Rich Hill who has been in the Majors since 2005 however he’s never won more than 12 games in a season. In 16 Major League seasons Hill has 67 wins but perhaps he can be a settling influence on a pitching staff with some young prospects.
Besides acquiring Hill the Rays also signed Michael Wacha who has a 60-43 record in 8 Major Leagues seasons. Wacha is only 29 years old and was an All-Star in 2015 with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015. However the last 2 seasons his ERA has been 4.76 and 6.62. Perhaps the star for the Pitching Staff in 2021 will be Left-hander Josh Fleming who went 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA. Tyler Glasnow also won 5 games but his ERA was 4.08.
2021 Tampa Bay Rays Alternative Fantasy Baseball Preview
The over/under number for the 2021 Tampa Bay Rays is 85 wins. Picking against the Rays is always difficult as they almost always have youngsters and rookies who surprise everyone and play very well. Because of this I am choosing the Rays to win >85 games. I’m thinking they’ll instead win 86-88 games and be in the wildcard race all season. This is based on the continued development of their young position players as well as pitchers. I am also assuming the Rays will get a better than average season out of either Rich Hill or Michael Wacha.
StatementGames gives Tampa Bay Rays fans and Major League Baseball fans a chance to play Fantasy Baseball days before the season starts. We invite all readers to try our MLB OVER / UNDER wins total tournament!
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