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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: President Obama to attend Rays game in Cuba

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When the MLB and POTUS want to make history, they call on the Rays.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Welcome to the new(ish) look version of the Rays Tank! With the return of games, we have the return of the Game Preview's, packed with all the history and trivia you crave. The Tank will be here each day for the news, notes, and links for the Rays and around the MLB.

Gone is the long, boring, baseball-less Winter. Now we transition from predictions and speculation based on past results, to predictions and speculation based on super small sample sizes! All snark aside, this is poised to be a very entertaining Spring Training, with multiple intriguing players competing in what should be some fierce camp battles. Having to make tough choices between good players is a refreshing challenge to face.

Links!

- The Rays heading to Cuba is a big deal, not just in baseball terms, but in political and historical impact as well. Reports are that President Obama will be in attendance to watch the Rays take on the Cuba National Team in Havana (on March 22nd).

- Jake Odorizzi takes the mound to start off the Rays Spring season, and Matt Collins at Baseball Prospectus has a fantasy season player preview on Odo.

- Getting ready for the first game of Spring, the Rays had a short day of training and then went golfing for the Rays Charity Golf Classic.

Tall tees are the new extra 2%

- Henry Druschel at Beyond the Box Score dives in, analyzes, and attempts to make sense of the Rays 2016 season projections.

- Bill Chastain takes a closer look at one of the Rays new knuckleballers, Eddie Gamboa. Gamboa is scheduled to pitch in today's contest against the Nats.

- The Rays narrowly miss the top 3 (coming in tied for 4th) of the ZiPS team defense projection. August Fagerstrom breaks down the best and worst projected defenses for 2016. Also of note, the full ZiPS projections are out on Fangraphs to explore and nerd out on.

- Stu Sternberg spoke to the media today, with plenty of stuff to dive into. Sternberg spoke about the need for corporate backers to support the new stadium, his expectations for the team to improve in 2016, and confirming the stadium search is indeed underway internally.

- Continuing the Rays Radio Getting to Know series, we get to meet pitcher Adam Reifer.

- In news from elsewhere in the AL East, Yankees new reliever Aroldis Chapman was suspended 30 games under the MLB's domestic violence policy.

- Dave Cameron details why he believes the upcoming CBA discussions at the end of the year will be a particularly tough fight.

- Merlot Joe is still up to his old tricks, rolling up to Cubs camp like he is either coming or going to his next Grateful Dead show.

- In other notable camp arrivals, Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard took the cowboy route in to work yesterday.

Cespedes is clearly enjoying that new contract, besides rolling up to camp with a new, wild car each day, he also bought a pig! You do you, Yoenis.