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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Tampa Bay, home of contenders

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National League Wild Card Game 2: Miami Marlins v. Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/MLB Photos via Getty Images

If we start counting down to the start of baseball season at such a fraught time, will we just jinx the 2021 season? Well I’ll take the chance.

Pitchers and catchers report for Rays on February 17, in 38 days, and the first spring training games are scheduled for February 27.

Opening Day is April 1, with your defending AL champion Rays visiting the Miami Marlins. The Rays home opener and presumably first opportunity to raise the AL pennant is on April 9 against the Yankees. From the department of “who made this schedule?” the Rays play their second series of the season on the road against the Red Sox, and I predict at least one game postponed because of “wintry mix” and one game played in 40 degree temperatures.

Rays News

Rob Arthur questions whether the Rays deserve their reputation for savvy trades. While it makes sense to probe that reputation, it’s not clear that his method of analysis — comparing career WAR of traded players — really captures a trade’s success, however.($)

Recently acquired Rays prospect playing winter ball:

Fangraghs is crowdsourcing radio broadcast ratings. You can share your views of the Rays broadcast team here. (They did something similar for television broadcasts, you can read the results here).

Around baseball

Kyle Schwarber and the Washington Nationals have agreed to a one-year deal.

The focus of the big Mets-Cleveland trade is on Lindor, but Mike Petriello thinks Carlos Carrasco may be at least as significant for New York.

Eno Sarris has interesting analysis about which team’s projected 2021 rotation is strongest. There is more than one way to look at the question. ($)

With a new owner willing to invest in payroll, we may not have the Mets to kick around much longer, as per Sports Illustrated. Is that the scent of hope wafting over Flushing Bay?

Tommy Lasorda passed away last week. The New York Times looks at his celebrity appeal.

More on Bianca Smith, recently hired as a coach in the Red Sox organization ($)

This article is from last month, but I’m not sure we posted it. We see Hall of Fame voters grappling with how to weigh character issues when they decide who goes into the Hall. Yet generations of players and executives who benefitted from and promoted segregation are there. Tyler Kepner reports on the HoF’s effort to contextualize the past.

Around Tampa Bay

Let me hear it for Title (or at least getting darned close to the title) Town USA!