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PANTS RANTS -The Rays’ Time Is Now

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By Jeff Pantridge

The Rays’ time is now…

Right now…

2014…

It’s time to win a World Series… This year.

Everybody loves an underdog. The Rays have played that role since 2008. To compete against the Yankees and the Red Sox’ of the world with a limited payroll has been nothing short of astounding. Yes, teams with low payrolls make a run once in a while, but not like this. This Rays have been a consistent winner for the last six years. They haven’t just been consistent for a “low payroll” team. They’ve been the second best team in all of Major League Baseball behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

That being said, the Tampa Bay Rays have not won a World Series. This year Stu Sternberg broke the bank (so to speak) in hopes of finally bringing a championship parade to the streets of St. Petersburg. The money has been spent. The pieces are in place. It’s time to make it happen.

With David Price returning, can you argue that the Rays don’t have the best starting staff in baseball? Yes, the Dodgers, Cardinals and Nationals’ rotations are good, but I’ll go to war with my guys. Price is the best pitcher in baseball not named Kershaw. Alex Cobb would be an ace on most staffs. Matt Moore has better stuff than Price and Chris Archer might be the best of all four of them.

The bullpen, which was strength, got even stronger this offseason with the additions of Grant Balfour and Heath Bell. When you have those two guys to go with Joel Peralta and Jake McGee it takes a lot of the pressure off of our young starters. All they need are six quality innings from the big boys and they will bring it home more often than not.

Last year’s team actually hit pretty well and the brass brought back the core including extending James Loney and David DeJesus. With Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria and Wil Myers plugging the middle and Joe Maddon chess-matching the other pieces, the Rays offense should improve this year. Joe has added an emphasis on base-running this year to get more production from his lineup.

The infield is set and there isn’t a better one in baseball. With the outfield being decent with Desmond Jennings holding it down in center, this team doesn’t have any weaknesses.

The Rays’ biggest threats in the American League are the Red Sox and Tigers. The Sox lost Jacoby Elsbury and the Kitties lost Prince Fielder and Doug Fister. Did the Yankees get any better? What about the Rangers or the Angels? Not really.

Now is the time Tampa Bay Rays. Now is your time…

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