2021 will mark the 24th season in Rays history, following the success of the 2020 American League Champions with the goal to win the club’s first World Series title. Manager Kevin Cash will be entering his seventh year at the helm.
Currently 11-12 on Opening Day, 2021 presents an opportunity for the Rays to even the record on the season’s first game. All time, the club is 1726-1896 in the regular season after 23 years and 27-29 in the Postseason. Should the Rays make the Postseason in 2021, it would mark the third-straight season the team has advanced to the playoffs, becoming the longest streak in franchise history.
The Rays look to improve their winning percentage for the sixth-straight year, spanning back to 2016’s .420 winning percentage (68-94) and needing to best 2020’s .667 mark (40-20).
Brandon Lowe returns after leading last season’s team in Wins Above Replacement with 2.4. The club’s longest-tenured player, Kevin Kiermaier, also returns for his ninth season with the organization, looking to improve upon his career 18.8 WAR. Breakout star Randy Arozarena carries over his rookie eligibility from last season.
New to the 40-man-roster in 2021 are free agent signings Chris Archer and Michael Wacha, both right-handed pitchers. Also new to the 40-man-roster are trade acquisitions Francisco Mejia, a catcher, and Luis Patiño, a right-handed pitcher. Promoted from the organization and joining the 40-man-roster are right-handed pitcher Drew Strotman, shortstop Taylor Walls and center fielder Josh Lowe.
We will be collecting our season previews as they publish in a Group which can be found here. There we already have articles on Josh Fleming’s 2020 season and a preview of 2021 addition of Taylor Walls, with much more to come this month and next.
Along the way we will tackle topics like roster depth, playing during a pandemic, and the status of top prospects. If there’s anything you’d like to see us cover, please let us know in the comments below!