The Tampa Bay Rays are not playing anymore baseball in October as this World Series is going on. Looking to next year there are tons of questions with the roster they will have address this offseason. It was brutal for Rays' fans to get over a wild pitch and broken bat infield single which caused them their game five in Boston but it is time to look forward to next season. It was another fantastic season with 92 wins but eventually you have to get out of the first round. It was good to get over the hump with Texas Rangers while beating the Cleveland Indians but the bats went cold at the wrong time. The bullpen blew way too many games this season and then it came down to not being able to bring runners in once again for Tampa Bay late in the season.
The first and most important decision for Andrew Friedman and the front office will be is what to do with David Price. This is his last two years under the Rays' control and he will get paid. It is important they get something out of David Price and not let him walk away like B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford. Some other possible free agents could be Matt Joyce, Kelly Johnson and James Loney which all had their hands involved in this great season. Losing James Loney would really take its toll as he was one of our best hitters for average last season. The Rays will try to keep him but other clubs will have the money to pay him. Tampa Bay has tons of talent with AL rookie of the year Wil Myers and possibly all four infielders with Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar, Evan Longoria and James Loney all potentially earning gold glove awards.
The trade they made with James Shield and Wil Myers last offseason looks to be a great trade in the long run. When it comes down to Rays baseball it all starts with quality pitching as this is what it takes to make the playoffs with a limited payroll in the AL East. They have plenty of young pitchers to bring up in the farm system to help fill the void of David Price. Jake Odorrizi, Chris Archer and Alex Torres will certainly be involved in pitching next season. The Rays will definitely need to strengthen the bullpen as well without Rodney. Delmon Young could also be an attractive right handed hitter to keep for next season as they had mostly lefties in the lineup.
The Rays didn't deserve to go out like that in game four of the ALDS after they were winning the ball game until that 8th inning meltdown. It will be something hard to get over but this season shows this team and this organization is built to win. The whole month of July really portrayed what that team was made of and what these Rays were capable of. They went 21-5 in July when everything was clicking for the Rays. They could not sustain that play at the plate and went cold at the wrong time. That fantastic month really showed what Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon are capable of doing each season. This team had the most walkoff victories as they were magical at times. Tampa Bay was not done playing baseball this year but fans have to start looking to next season. The front office and Andrew Friedman have to look to next season and learn from your mistakes and do what they have to do to continue to pump out wins. The Rays need more pop in the lineup behind Evan Longoria and Wil Myers. Trading David Price for more quality pitching and or a big bat is something the Rays may have to do this offseason.
For now it's sitting back and watching the World Series with the Boston Red Sox vs the St. Louis Cardinals as the Cardinals look to take a 2-1 lead heading Saturday night. It is a long way from April but fans can be confident in the front office making the right decision for this team to win in 2014 once again. The Rays are the only team to have 90 plus wins in five of the last six seasons so look for more winning seasons ahead as this turnaround has been simply incredible.