If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do based on what we have learned. Think of RI as “Tampa Bay Rays 101.”
However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans. Looking back at last year’s 12 Days of Raysmas, we see that many of our wishes came true. Many did not. If we can get a couple of more this year, the Rays might just win it all.
Without further ado…
On the eighth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, EIGHT POSITIONS WITH AT LEAST A LEAGUE-AVERAGE HITTER…
In major league baseball, most teams set a goal of being at least league average (offensively) at every position, with a few positions that are above-average*.
Here is a table we showed you guys shortly after the season ended…
There are four offensive positions that were well-below league average in 2011 (DH, 1B, C, SS). We have a pretty good idea who will catch (Jose Molina, Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos) and who will play shortstop (Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez), but there is a chance that all four positions could still be upgraded this off-season.
We are starting to think the 2012 Rays have a chance to be the best Rays team yet. But we would feel a lot better if the Rays were at least average offensively. And we would feel even better if the Rays lineup didn’t look like a National League lineup (automatic outs at bottom of order that give opposing pitcher a chance to relax).
So that means the Rays have two months to show significant upgrades at at least three of these positions. And if that doesn’t happen, the incumbents better give us a better effort in 2012.
* Of course, the Yankees don’t count. Typically, they aren’t happy unless they have a future hall-of-famer at each position.