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Projected Rotation -
The last spot in the rotation will be filled by either Jason Hammel, Jeff Nieman or Andy Sonnastine. The Rays have finally built a stable 1-2-3 in the rotation by adding Matt Garza for the expence of troubled, but super talent Delmon Young. Kazmir has pitched his way into the hearts of Rays fans, while throwing a dagger at Mets fans while Shields has been a great sidekick to Kazmir. Edwin Jackson has been pretty good lately in Spring Taining and as well as in the end of 2007. Will he finally show that potential he once had with the Dodgers? Then there maybe a huge drop of at the number 5 slot unless a top prospect like Jeff Nieeman, Wade Davis or David Price come to the rescue. The Rays need to hope the pitching holds up until one of these three are finally ready to hit the majors and help the Rays to a possible play-off push.
~ Rays pitcher Edwin Jackson could be one of the many young keys to success for the team.
The addition of Dan Wheeler for utility man Ty Wigginton has showed that it will pay dividends for the Rays. Not too mention they added on Comeback candidate Troy Percival to be the closer. The Rays will most likely use there top 3 most of the year, they have to also use the junky relievers. After Percival, Reyes and Wheeler, the Rays bullpen takes a big blow down to Glover and Miller. Regardless, the additions of Wheeler and Percival will be huge to improve a league ranked 30th bullpen. Who knows, maybe some of the Rays prospects will boost the relief corpse as the season progresses, but Wheeler and Reyes will each be called on for a good 60-70 games in 2008.
~ Rays closer Troy Percival will be a big help for a MLB ranked 30th bullpen
1: Akinori Iwamura/2B
2: Carl Crawford/LF
3: Carlos Pena/1B
4: B.J. Upton/CF
5: Cliff Floyd/DH or Rocco Baldelli
6: Jonny Gomes/RF
7: Evan Longoria/3B
8: Dioner Navarro/C
9: Jason Bartlett/SS
Rocco Baldelli or Cliff Floyd/OF
The Line-up has gotten better since the days when Carl Crawford was the only reliable player. Last years additions of Akinori Iwamura from Japan and Carlos Pena were big strides in getting the team better. This year they boosted the line-up again by adding Cliff Floyd to DH. They took a minor hit of trading off Brandon Harris to Minnesota and recieving Jason Bartlett but that was the price they had to pay to acquire Matt Garza. The offense will also get a boost from top 5 prospect Evan Longoria, who should be playing opening day for the Rays. Also over the off-season, the Rays acquired two utility players to take over for Ty Wigginton, Eric Hinske and Willy Aybar. There is no question the offense keeps getting better as the years go on, and with the stock piled farm system will continue as the years go by. The Rays are finally in a good position to fight for the division with the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. They will finally get over the hump of 5th place as they will surpase the rebulding Orioles.
~ Rays outfielder Carl Crawford finally has help in a line-up set to contend.