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National writer believes 'Rays could be surprise contender'

Tampa Bay Rays new RHP Jose De Leon throws a bullpen session during a workout at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays new RHP Jose De Leon throws a bullpen session during a workout at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.

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Fox Sports senior writer Ken Rosenthal thinks the Rays could be "a surprise contender if everything goes right," according to this headline and post Tuesday morning.

"Do not confuse the Rays with the Reds, Brewers or any other rebuilding club with zero designs on contention; Tampa Bay is putting together a team that, if everything goes right, could emerge as a surprise contender," Rosenthal writes.

Some quick takeaways on why Rosenthal believes that:

-- FanGraphs projects the Rays to finish third at 82-80, "and another addition or two could push that projection higher." 

--  The Rays are trying to contend. They had the "high bid" for free agent reliever Sergio Romo, who took less sign with the Dodgers. As the Times' Marc Topkin has written frequently, the Rays are still in the market for a late-inning reliever and a right-handed bat.

-- "The Rays' rotation again looks deep and promising," even after the Drew Smyly trade to Seattle.

Though he concedes the Rays would have "launched a full-scale rebuild" if they had received a suitable offer for Kevin Kiermaier and Chris Archer this winter, "this is not a full-blown rebuild," Rosenthal concludes, "not even close."

Read the full story here.

 

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 10:33am]

    

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