Last year, the Tampa Bay Rays finished second in the American League East with a respectable 92-71 record. They lost to division opponent and eventual World Series champions Boston Red Sox in the divisional round of the playoffs.
While this might qualify as a successful season for some teams, Rays manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president Andrew Friedman both believe that the team has the tools to make a run at the World Series in the upcoming season.
“We can definitely win our division this year,” Maddon said to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
To do that, they’ll have to rely on a rotation that features some very skilled arms, which Friedman believes could be a driving force for success.
“Our rotation has a chance to be really, really good,” Maddon added. He and Friedman stressed that this season is about taking the next step toward winning a championship. As Maddon said to Topkin, “We want to eat last.”
It’s too early to determine just how talented the Rays will be this year, but it appears that already, the attitude for this year’s team has been taken to another level.
That’s not to say they won’t face their fair share of problems, however. Two veteran relievers — Juan Carlos Oviedo and Juan Sandoval – could be delayed in getting to spring training due to issues with their visas from the Dominican Republic.