2017 American League East Preview: Can Red Sox Repeat?
#5 Tampa Bay Rays
With Tampa Bay finishing with 94 losses and a last place finish in 2016, too many question marks still surround this team with just before Opening Day. Injuries decimated the Rays last season. The lack of depth and financial support will continue to haunt this franchise as they solely rely on their farm system for almost all of their production at the big league level.
The Rays big league staff, when healthy, is able to go head-to-head with any team within the AL East. Rays’ ace Chris Archer is coming off an awful season, Alex Cobb is always a question mark due to recent injuries, and the bullpen is not very deep past closer Alex Colome.
Tampa’s lineup still remains an issue even with the additions of catchers Wilson Ramos and Derek Norris. The Rays offense one through nine remains the weakest in the division by a substantial amount and their pitching staff needs to stay healthy and perform consistently enough if they have any hope of climbing out of the cellar anytime soon.