1. LF Desmond Jennings (R) - hit 10 HRs in just 63 games as a rookie last year.
2. DH Luke Scott (L) - power potential, hit 27 HRs in 2010.
3. 3B Evan Longoria (R)
4. 1B Carlos Peña (L) - remember when he hit 46 HRs in 2007?
5. 2B Ben Zobrist (S)
6. CF B.J. Upton (R) - last year before becoming a free agent, which usually means people perform to their maximum potential seeing as they want big money usually the next year. This is a good thing.
7. RF Matt Joyce (L) - very capable of hit 20+ HRs.
8. C Jose Molina (R) - lifetime .241 hitter but hit .281 last year.
9. SS Sean Rodriguez (R) or Reid Brignac (L) - my preference is Sean.
This year just feels.. different. It feels right. Pena is back, which seems to stick the glue back together that seemingly broke last year, even if we did make it to the playoffs. Remember when Pena and Maddon exchanged texts last year when Pena was slumping? Or when Pena said he missed the Zobrists last year and all Garza had to say was “it’s business”? Family.
We added another left-handed bat in Luke Scott, which seems more reliable than Manny was last year. Bats.
Friedman & Co. picked up veteran catching in Molina, which we have been lacking the last couple of years. Catching.
Our pitching depth.
They expanded the payroll to $63M from last season’s $41M. They want it, we want it. The chemistry of these players from the beginning has me the most optimistic I have been at the beginning of a season.
This is our year. 2012, Rays World Series Champions!
In 2011, the Tampa Bay Rays averaged next to last in attendance with under 19,000 per game. That’s unfortunate for a team that always seems to pull it together in recent years under Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon, including an incredible run this past September. But player development and playoff…