Rays finish another disappointing season

By Ken Filler
Oct. 03, 2017

As the Rays cleaned out their lockers one by one, and Kevin Cash and the front office held their year end press conferences, there was a sense of unfinished business as the Rays let a playoff position slip right through their hands.

The Rays finished 80-82, an improvement over last season. But the Rays had teased us and led us along in that first half, only to collapse down the stretch and miss the playoffs for another year.

The Rays had been in a playoff position until right after the all-star break, when the offense collapsed and the pitching could not save the season. There will certainly be a lot of questions asked about the collapse this off-season and rightly so. Some decisions have already been made as bench coach Tom Foley will not return and be assigned to another position in the Rays organization. Pitching coach Jim Hickey will not be back as both the Rays and Hickey agreed to part ways.

Charlie Montoya is expected to be named bench coach, and Kyle Snyder is the front runner to be named pitching coach. Snyder has been the pitching coach at Durham the last three seasons.

The Rays have several key players whowe contracts have expired and they will not re-signed. Alex Cobb has pitched his last game in a Rays uniform. He will command upwards of $100 million dollars from a big market team and Stuart Sternberg has already said that the Rays will slash payroll next season.

Some other Rays that will not be back include Peter Bourjous, Logan Morrison, and Tommy Hunter. The Rays added 7 million dollars to the payroll in late July and early August as they were in the running for a wild-card spot. Steve Cishek, Sergio Romo, Lucas Duda, and Trevor Plouffe all brought in by the Rays in the second half will almost assuredly move on.

This season was a record setting year for the Rays both good and bad. The Rays hit a team record 228 home runs good for sixth in MLB. However 149 of those homers were solo shots. The Rays set a new MLB strikeout record as they whiffed 1538 times. Not a record you want to have on your resume.

Good job by Alex Colome as he set a Rays record with 47 saves, which also led all of MLB this season.

The Rays will probably have a payroll in the 70 million dollar range next season which will be down about 10 million from where they ended the 2017 season. Don‘t look for the Rays to spend on grade A free agents. With the budget restrictons that Sternberg has put on this team, look for more class B and C free agents to make their home in Tampa.

With Alex Cobb having pitched his last game for the Rays, the 2018 rotation could consist of Archer, Ordorizzi, Snell and Jacob Faria. The Rays will no doubt look to Durham to find that fifth starter. Jose Deleon may get the first chance. DeLeon spent a good portion of the season on the DL and could never get into any kind of rhythm. Brent Honeywell and Taylor Guerrieri are a couple of other options.

The Winds of change will be blowin through Tampa this off-season as the Rays re-tool and try to get a competitive roster together for 2018. It should be a very entertaining off -season for the Rays.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports