The Tampa Bay Rays won 99 games this past season and made the MLB Postseason for the fifth consecutive season. However, Tampa exited after a sweep at the hand of the Rangers and failed to win a playoff series yet again. Now, the Rays are set to enter a difficult offseason. Here’s our recap of the Rays’ 2023 season.
The Rays offense proved to be one of the best in MLB this past season. Ten Rays hitters belted at least 10 home runs, and the team leader in that category turned out to be Isaac Paredes.
The 2023 campaign turned out to be a breakout campaign for the 24-year-old Paredes, acquired in April 2022 from Detroit for Austin Meadows. Paredes hit 31 home runs, posted a .840 OPS, and recorded an exceptional 89.2% Zone Contact% rate.
Aside from Paredes, Jose Siri hit 25 home runs over 101 games and played stellar defense in center. Randy Arozarena recorded the third 20-20 campaign of his career and 1B Yandy Diaz — locked up by the Rays earlier in the year — cracked a career-high 22 home runs and won the AL batting title (.330).
Another breakthrough was from former first-round pick Josh Lowe. Lowe hit 20 home runs and solidified the Rays’ outfield.
McClanahan could have been an AL Cy Young award finalist had he stayed healthy. The left-hander had an excellent first half, as McClanahan went 11-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 101 strikeouts over 96 innings.
Closer Pete Fairbanks struck out 68 over 45.1 IP and notched 25 saves.
After Wander Franco was placed on administrative leave, Tampa had a hard time getting production from the shortstop position.
Taylor Walls hit .164/.261/.230 in September and the 27-year-old may not even be available for Opening Day after offseason hip surgery. Fellow infielder Osleivis Basabe hit just .218/.277/.310 over 31 games.
Another issue with the Rays in 2023 was the constant flow of injuries to the pitching staff.
McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs all sustained season-ending injuries in 2023. Thus, it made sense that the Rays made a deal this past summer to acquire a controllable arm in Aaron Civale, who struck out 58 over 45.1 IP in Tampa but also gave up 51 hits.
What to Look For in 2024
The Rays won’t have an easy offseason by any stretch of the imagination.
For one, Tampa needs to figure out the team’s rotation plans for 2024. Shane McClanahan and Jeffrey Springs won’t be available to start 2024, and McClanahan likely won’t be back at all. Drew Rasmussen, meanwhile, won’t be available until at least the middle of next season.
That’s a lot of talent on the shelf. And, Tyler Glasnow’s name has been a popular one among the trade rumor mill. Glasnow is set to make $25 million next season.
And, the investigation into SS Wander Franco’s alleged relationship with a minor is another factor that the Rays must consider.