Tampa Bay Rays: 2017 Season Review and Offseason Preview

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images /
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Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images /

The Tampa Bay Rays made some noise in the Wild Card race but faded down the stretch. Let’s look back at the ups and downs of their 2017 season.

The Tampa Bay Rays have traditionally been a team of which little is expected, but they often surprise us by remaining a factor in the playoff race. The 2017 season more or less fit that mold. In the spring, Kevin Cash‘s squad seemed like an afterthought in an AL East Division expected to be dominated by the Boston Red Sox. However, the Rays finished at 80-82 and a respectable five games behind the second Wild Card spot.

A rousing success of a campaign? Certainly not, but given the overall talent level of the roster, the fact they stayed within striking distance of the postseason is impressive. Winners of their last four games of the season, Tampa Bay ended on a positive note.

Nevertheless, they say your record ultimately tells what kind of team you are, and the Rays were a club just under .500. Month by month, they pretty much treaded water the entire year. Their best performance came in May, when they went a modest 17-13. They also avoided a truly miserable month, never dipping below 12-14 on any page of the calendar.

The Rays’ strong position at midseason thrust them into the unfamiliar position of trade deadline buyer. In possession of a Wild Card berth at the All-Star break, the franchise elected to go for it, dealing for first baseman Lucas Duda, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and reliever Dan Jennings. It didn’t work out in the end, but it was a refreshing departure from the way the Rays usually do business.

Let’s take a closer look at the good and the bad from the year that was for the Tampa Bay Rays, along with some speculation about what 2018 may bring.

Next: The Good