The Rays Tank: Hello baseball, my old friend

USA TODAY Sports

We still have eight days, but Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers report to Salt River Fields today, with the Dodgers arriving in Phoenix Saturday.

It's heeeeeeeeeeeere.

You never remember how brutally long an offseason is until it rears its ugly head again. Happily seeing this one to the door.

Pitchers and catchers won't report to Port Charlotte until Valentine's Day, but knowing that there are currently players in a clubhouse prepping for the 2014 season makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

That being said, Danny provided Fourteen Predictions for 2014 to kick things off.

My least favorite on the list? Our 2013 Rookie of the Year hitting a sophomore slump. Don't do it, Wil. Though, if it occurs, over/under on him cutting/not cutting his hair in superstitious fear?

Because things like this are sometimes fun, CBS Sports compiled their all-time single-season team for the Rays, with the following roster:

Catcher - John Jaso, 2010

First Base - Carlos Pena, 2007

Second Base - Ben Zobrist, 2009

Shortstop - Jason Bartlett, 2009

Third Base - Evan Longoria, 2010

Left Field - Carl Crawford, 2010

Center Field - Randy Winn, 2002

Right Field - Aubrey Huff, 2003

Designated Hitter - Jose Canseco, 1999

Starting Pitchers - 2012 David Price, 2011 James Shields, 1998 Rolando Arrojo, 2007 Scott Kazmir, 2011 Jeremy Hellickson

Relief Pitchers - 2012 Fernando Rodney, 2010 Joaquin Beoit, 2008 J.P. Howell

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

Links:

- Alas, Baseball Nation is no more.

- MLB has upped their security measures for ballparks going forward, now requiring fans to be screened with metal detectors, with the Rays implementing a system that will screen each fan in less than 30 seconds to avoid delays or congestion. (Insert there-aren't-enough-fans-to-have-delays-or-congestion attendance joke here.)

- With Spring Training upon us, five players remain free agents (unemployed) due to qualifying offer: Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales.

- More details on Tracy McGrady's publicity stunt/attempt at a professional baseball career. Best excerpt:

He made a case for his own talents, too: "Well, first of all, you gotta 6-foot-8 guy standing on the mound. Still working on my velo. Command's pretty good. Fastball, splitter, slider, change."

Yes, he's even using the "velo" shorthand for "velocity." That's how serious he is about this.

- Soon injuries, success (and lackthereof) from players in Spring Training and stats will become forefront on here again, so for today read a sweet story from a dad about the bond he's creating with his daughter via baseball cards. It'll make you smile, and she's only four, so it makes it all even better:

"I wish Matt Harvey's elbow wasn't hurt," she told me, frowning as she placed the cardboard photo of a delivering Harvey from better times into a sleeve.

"I know, sweetie. Everybody wishes that," I told her. "Especially the Mets."

- In not-so-fun news, Curt Schilling announced yesterday that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

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