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 Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images
Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images /

What’s Next?

The Rays will see several key members becomes free agents in the next few weeks. Among them are Alex Cobb, Logan Morrison and Tommy Hunter. Tampa Bay is never a real player in free agency, and Cobb and Morrison in particular are likely to demand more than the team is willing to pay.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports the Rays are likely to make Cobb the $18.1 million qualifying offer, but he’s almost sure to nab a multi-year deal elsewhere.

With Cobb likely on the way out, the Rays’ rotation will need other arms to pick up the slack. A return to form from Archer would be ideal, as well as Snell taking that next step. More of the same from Faria would be welcome. Top prospect Brent Honeywell could also be a factor next year. He posted a 3.49 ERA with 11.3 K/9 in 26 outings between Double- and Triple-A this season.

The Rays have even been mentioned as a dark horse landing spot for Japanese phenom Shohei Otani. That seems more like daydreaming than a realistic possibility, but given the new international signing rules, it’s a rare situation where Tampa Bay won’t necessarily be at a monetary disadvantage compared to bigger clubs.

Next: Orioles 2017 Season Review

It’s hard to imagine this offseason being much more than business as usual for the Rays: trying to stay competitive within their tight budget restrictions. Maybe they’ll strike gold on a buy-low pickup or two like they did with Morrison. They will need to replace his power in the lineup somehow.

On the other hand, they could decide to position themselves better for the long term by exploring trades for guys like Longoria and Archer. With the AL East looking dominated by the Yankees and Red Sox at the moment, that might not be such a bad idea.