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Happy Opening Day!

The Rays will take on the Blue Jays at 4:00 at The Trop today to start the 2016 season. The game is sold out and Chris Archer will be on the mound and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

As you can see above, the Rays are once again going with the “Opening Series” logo, over other options seen around MLB, such as “Opening Day,” “Opening Week,” “Opening Night,” and “Opening Weekend.”

One other question that is left to answer is which award glove will Kevin Kiermaier wear? We already saw earlier this spring that Kiermaier had a gold-labeled Rawlings glove for winning the Gold Glove. Well, it turns out he has also been using a platinum-labeled glove for winning the Platinum Glove as the AL’s best defender.

Here are a few other links to get you warmed up for Opening Day Series

  • The Rays added have 8 new players on the roster this year, including four players acquired this offseason. Those four are Brad Miller, Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison, and Hank Conger. All four of those players are in the starting lineup.
  • The Rays also chose to go with a 4-man rotation and an 9-man bullpen to start the season. Both Danny Farquhar and Dana Eveland made the team while Mikie Mahtook was sent to Durham. Erasmo Ramirez will work out of the ‘pen, but not as a long-reliever. Instead, Kevin Cash says he will be used in high-leverage situations as needed.
  • Finally, the Rays traded for former big-league catcher Carlos Corporan from the Yankees, in exchange for cash. Corporan will be assigned to the Durham Bulls and will simply be depth for the Rays.
  • George Wendt will throw out the first pitch. You might remember him as Norm from “Cheers.” If not, ask your parents. Anyways, why a has-been actor from a series set in Boston? It is a sponsorship deal with Budweiser.
  • In the latest Rays Baseball podcast, Evan Longoria notes that he changed his offseason workout this winter, making more of an effort to build strength over cardiovascular. It could be a good sign that we will see more home runs from Longo this year. However, he also freely admits that he has come to grips with the idea that he is not the same player he was 5-6 years ago and that he has adjusted his own expectations. [Rays Baseball]
  • Earlier this week we pointed out that it appeared the Rays had shifted their philosophy and are now willing to sacrifice a little bit of defense for more offense and that the Rays may be treating some defense like they treat the bullpen, look for players with the potential to get hot for a season or two with the glove. This topic was then brought up at the Tampa Bay Times. Matt Silverman says there hasn’t been a change in philosophy. However, Chris Archer thinks there has been a change to get the team over the top. [TampaBay.com]
  • Speaking of, it sounds like the Rays were not happy with James Loney last year and it may have hurt his chances of making the team this year. From Mark Topkin: “Loney dropped off a bit offensively, and defensively, in 2014. But he seemed to fall considerably more out of favor with a further decline last year, even more so when the Rays allowed him to go home to California during a midseason DL stint and he came back noticeably out of shape.” True? Probably. But it also sounds like the Rays are now trying to spin the loss of an $8 million player with nothing in return. [TampaBay.com]
  • Here’s a Q&A with Stuart Sternberg. My favorite part is when he is asked if he has ever Instagrammed. Stu’s response: “I don’t think so.” [TampaBay.com]
  • The Tampa Bay Times editorial section wrote an open letter to Rob Manfred on how to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay. The letter lists 6 different points for the commissioner to consider, but they are all basically the same, “keep an open mind, we’re not that bad.” The letter doesn’t actually list any solutions for MLB to consider. [TampaBay.com]
  • Out of 31 ESPN MLB experts, 4 picked Chris Archer to win the Cy Young this year. [ESPN]

Finally, here is how the 2 local newspapers treated the Rays on the front page today (click to enlarge).

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