Can Rays figure out a way to get offensive?

by Gary Shelton on February 6, 2023

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

This is true about the Tampa Bay Rays.

They can't hit. Not a lick. If a cow escaped from its pen and made it as far as Tropicana Field, and if it slowly ambled from the pitcher's mound to home plate, the Rays couldn't hit it.

This, too, is true about the Rays.

They're run by fairly smart people.

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Oh, the Rays aren't foolproof. There are too many Yoshi Tatsugo's for that. But by and large, the Rays are a brainy bunch. Granted, it's hard to hit a fastball with your cerebrum, but over the years, the Rays have outsmarted the big money boys often enough to impress.

So remember this: No matter how many times you scream that the Rays need a hitter, there is this: They know it. Of course they know it. They study this roster more than anyone. They are perfectly aware that they cannot hit, that they won't hit, that there is no chance of them hitting.

That's why it has been so surprising that the Rays never brought in even an average bat to add to their lineup this off-season. Remember how desperately awful the Rays were last year? Well, take Ji-Man Choi, David Peralta, Kevin Kiermaier and Mike Zunino away from that bunch.

Sheesh. This lineup couldn't score on a pinball machine.

Certainly, then, the Rays have something up their sleeves. Don't they? They're going to make a trade in spring training, right? Or they secretly think more of their farm produce are more ready than we thought. Yeah? Or they're going to hope to stay close and find a thumper by the trading deadline. Or maybe they think new pitcher Zach Elfin can pitch in with 40 home runs?

Do you follow the Zips numbers from They see Wander Franco hitting .280, Yandy Diaz hitting .273 and Randy Arozarena hitting .262. But no one else is as high as .250. It doesn't see anyone with more than 25 homers. Arozarena is projected to lead the Rays with 83 RBI.

In other words, there will be a lot of one-run outings for the Rays.

Again, the Rays have convinced me they're pretty shrewd. They're bound to find a better hitter somewhere.

Aren't they?

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