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"The Next Rays"

Two weeks ago I had a post ready to go about how much I dislike this new topic. A few reasons stopped me from posting it, the biggest: everyone else is writing about this idea. Naturally, I see two more have popped up, including:

Sports Illustrated, February 3: 1. Detroit Tigers. The most expensive last-place team in history ($137 million) is bound to be better. The Tigers ranked 12th in the AL in runs allowed last season. Starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman gave them 21 wins, 441 innings and a 5.33 ERA, vastly worse than the 38 wins, 553 2/3 innings and 4.44 they provided the previous season. Detroit's defense didn't help, either. Only the Rangers, Mariners and Yankees were worse among AL teams at turning batted balls into outs as manager Jim Leyland desperately sought the right combination of players in the right spots. Stellar defensive shortstop Adam Everett, the Tigers' version of Jason Bartlett, will help, as should the return of Brandon Inge to third base and Gerald Laird taking over the catching spot. Still, the season will turn on the rotation, and whether Verlander and Bonderman can return to form and whether Armando Galarraga and former Ray Edwin Jackson can build on their 2008 breakouts. With an improved defense and healthier starters, the Tigers will make a huge jump in run prevention.

Italics are mine, he lost me there. Then there's this one, where the writer compares the Arizona Cardinals and Rays -- a total slap in the Rays face -- to give the Mariners hope. That seems odd, given how well managed the Mariners have been thus far in the Jack Zduriencik era, but okay, fine.

The worst part is everyone is missing the "real" choice for "next Rays":