OK, I know the Devil Rays have some good young talent and some serious prospects in their system but the future is not now. I came across this article on TSN about the AL East Starting pitching. He uses PECOTA projections to compare the staffs. He goes on to say;
"Tampa Bay, however, stands a good chance of becoming the class of the AL East. The Rays show strength in eqERA and innings pitched at every level."
Now we also have seen the Devil Rays actually picked ahead of Toronto and Boston in certain projections lately. But let's take a step back and look at some numbers;
96 - the Number of loses by Tampa last Year
944- The number of runs given up by TB last year, worst in MLB (Almost 300 more then
30- The number of games back the Rays were at the end of the year
0 - The number of innings Scott Kazmir has thrown this spring
Ok The Rays have made some moves this offseason to try get better;
Lost Delmon Young
Added Matt Garza, Troy Percival, Jason Bartlett, Cliff Floyd and Willie Aybar
Garza should help and Barltett is a solid BACKUP but Floyd and Percival were taken off the scrap heap. Percival is a power arm who averaged 91 Mph with his fastball last year. That might be enough to limp through the sixth inning in the NL central but in the AL east it is going to get ugly for him. Floyd is done. So have they improved? Garza is definitely an upgrade but you could argue the uncertainty of Kazmir and the loss of Young outweighs any gains from Garza.
The point is this is still a extremely flawed team and while it might be nice to believe they could start to turn it around this is not going to be they year the become a force. Talk to me 2010.