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Just what exactly ARE the expectations for the Rays in 2019?

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Stu says 90, do we all agree?

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations are a funny thing. Last spring, when the sky was reportedly falling, and the hot takes Picassos of the world had the Rays pegged as the embarrassments of baseball, just getting through the season felt like it would be an accomplishment.

Then the actual season started, the Rays got fire down the stretch, their farm system looked better than ever, and the team won 90 games.

Heading into the offseason, the Rays had plenty of money to play with (supposedly), a stacked farm system to use as trade chips, and seemingly a willingness to go and git er done.

The offseason has been far from a bust, they signed their biggest-ever free agent contract in Charlie Morton, and they brought in a man whose muscles make Terry Crews look like Gumby. But still, there feels like there’s maybe just a little something missing.

But you know what, that might just be me! As our fearless leader wrote just the other day, one of the most fascinating parts of the 2019 season is just how many unknowns there really are for the Rays heading into this campaign.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg went on record with a couple of incredibly interesting quotes (my emphasis added throughout). You can listen in full here, or read some transcription provided below.

“How can you not be optimistic? Having said that, it’s all relative to expectations. If this was a team that was pegged to win 100 games and we won 94, is it a disappointment? Any year the Tampa Bay Rays can come in with an expectation, I have a belief that we can be a 90-win baseball team. Can be, not will be, should be, oughta be. I’d sign up for it. I’d feel great about it. I think we can be a 90-win team again. Whether it bears out or we end up winning 75 or win 94, that’s why you play the game.”

Ninety was enough last year,” Sternberg said. “It wasn’t enough to get to the playoffs. Ninety-five wasn’t enough to get to the playoffs. We can only control what we control. Things like this happen. We play the Red Sox 19 times, we play the Yankees a bunch. We have to compete against teams, and what the A’s did last year was stupendous. If they won 94 and we won 96 and they missed out, they’d be crying. I have nothing to cry about from last year. Our goal is to get to 90 and see where that leads us. I like the odds. Can I sign for 90 right now? I’ll do it.”

The last few sentences, in particular stand out, as Sternberg seems to have set a repeat of 2018’s 90 wins as a reasonable goal for 2019. Would that be enough to satiate the fanbase?

Let’s see. In honor of Jeff Sullivan’s running poll-laden articles over at FanGraphs, and to try to get a better grip on just where Rays fans stand heading into 2019, here are a series of polls trying to figure out just where we all stand. (Please note, if you are reading via Google AMP or Apple News, you will need to open the page in a standard internet browser to vote.).

Poll

How many games will the Rays win in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Less than 75
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    75-79
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    80-84
    (22 votes)
  • 32%
    85-89
    (150 votes)
  • 44%
    90-94
    (209 votes)
  • 14%
    95-99
    (66 votes)
  • 2%
    100 or more
    (14 votes)
467 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many wins will it take the Rays having in 2019 for you to be happy with the outcome

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Less than 75
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    75-79
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    80-84
    (11 votes)
  • 25%
    85-89
    (98 votes)
  • 58%
    90-94
    (226 votes)
  • 10%
    95-99
    (39 votes)
  • 2%
    100 or more
    (10 votes)
387 votes total Vote Now

Poll

If the Rays win 90 games and miss the playoffs, what will be your assessment of the season?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Failure
    (8 votes)
  • 19%
    Disappointing
    (79 votes)
  • 10%
    Meh
    (40 votes)
  • 59%
    Solid season
    (235 votes)
  • 8%
    Success
    (34 votes)
396 votes total Vote Now

Poll

What’s more important for 2019:

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Wins
    (55 votes)
  • 86%
    Playoffs
    (339 votes)
394 votes total Vote Now

For that last poll, would you have differently if I called wins (process) and playoffs (results)? Stay woke.