Tampa Bay Rays: The painful rebuild
If the Southwest Florida baseball curse isn’t a thing, then it should be. The Tampa Bay Rays are in full rebuild mode.
The days of that magical 2008 season are long gone.
So are most of the fans who remember it. Tropicana Field sits as a hollow reminder of Tampa’s unpredicted run to the World Series, a silent dome haunted by the distant ringing of cowbells amid meaningful games.
Like their counterparts on the opposite Florida coast, the Tampa Bay Rays have entered a full rebuild mode. They enter the 2018 season as a big question mark. Can they replicate their 80-win season from a year ago mainly on the backs of young and energetic kids of considerable skill, or will they resort back to the 68 win-form of 2016?
However, though some of well-known offensive names have been shipped to other teams for strong prospect packages, the strength of the Rays has always been predicated by their pitching staff. While serious contention is a longshot in a division that seems to shape up as a two-team race between the Red Sox and Yankees, the Rays still have the pieces to be the one thing they’ve been consistent at for the past five years: American League East spoilers.