Postmortem: Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays went 86-76. They squeaked into the playoffs as the sixth and last seed, and finished third in the AL East. They did this despite leading the major leagues in injuries, especially to Wander Franco and several pitchers. In the playoffs, they got swept out of the wild card round by the Cleveland Guardians, with the second game being a 15 inning 1-0 marathon shutout. It set a postseason record for most shutout innings, until it was broken by the Mariners and Astros in the ALDS e few days later.

The Rays’ chief free agents are Corey Kluber, Mike Zunino, and Kevin Kiermeier. If Zunino departs, that leaves a hole at catcher. Kiermeier will not be resigning. He would achieve 10/5 rights next season. Combine that with his declining production, that he is coming off a hip injury, and that they already have his replacement in their system…and it’s clear the Rays will not try very hard—if at all—to sign him. As for pitching, Glasnow returned at the end of this season, and they just signed Zach Eflin for 3 years/$40M…the largest free agent contract they’ve ever given out.

From now until 2028, though, the real elephant in the room will always be where will they call home after the 2027 season. See my last post for the latest on that.

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