Another season down for the Tampa Bay Rays. They struggled to get wins this year, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for this franchise. In 2016 the Rays spent the least amount of money on team salary. At just over 71 million dollars, they were nearly 4 million behind the next team. The Rays are in the middle of a rebuilding process.
After the trade deadline, Bleacher Report ranked the Rays farm system 15th in the league. There were few good points this year, other than they will get a decent draft pick in the upcoming rookie draft. Here’s a look back at the Tampa Bay Rays season recap.
Tampa Bay Rays Season Recap
The Rays finished the year with 68 wins and 94 losses. This resulted in a fifth place finish in the AL East division. They would finish tied for second worst record in the league, along with three other teams. Baseball Reference had the Rays finishing with 77 wins on the year, so a slight under performance.
Evan Longoria Still a Top Player
The Rays third baseman was their most solid performer on the year. The 30-year old Longoria finished with a .273 in 160 games. He smashed 36 homeruns and drove in 98 RBIs. He would finish with a 3.8 WAR. However, Longoria was a liability defensively. He had a 97% fielding percentage, along with a -0.6 defensive WAR.
Kevin Kiermaier is a Centerpiece
Kiermaier is going to be the heart of this team going forward. He is just 26-years old and playing at an elite level. Kiermaier is arguably one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball. He had a slight down year hitting in 2016. He hit just .246 with 37 RBIs and 55 runs scored in 108 games. His 5.5 WAR was inflated highly based on his defense. He accumulated a 3.0 defensive WAR with 25 defensive runs saved throughout the season.
Pitching Should Improve
The Rays have several pitchers that could be highly valuable in years to come. Chris Archer is a top young pitcher in the game, however, he had a down year. In just over 200 innings, Archer pitched to a 4.02 ERA. He had a 1.24 WHIP and surrender a walk for every three and a half strikeouts. Archer is a young player and should be able to bounce back from a rough 2016 campaign.
The Rays will probably be sellers in the off-season. Unless they completely turn around their team salary they just don’t have the assets ready to make a run yet. With just an average farm system the Rays would have to sign several free agents. With the lack of talent at most positions, along with little spending money, the Rays are better off trying to trade for prospects during the several months ahead.