WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT THE RAYS
"The Rays' offensive muscle is well south of average, but they have pitching to be plundered, speed to spare and defense to die for. That may not be good enough in their treacherous division. … Still, there's an X-factor about this bunch that can't be minimized."
Athlon Sports, which picks Rays to finish second and earn a wild card
Wonderkind Desmond Jennings picks up right where he left off after a stellar second-half debut (10 HRs, 20 SBs), and (Matt Moore and David Price) form American League's premier lefty tandem."
ESPN the Magazine's "best-case scenario" for Rays, which it picks to win the AL East
"The magic number in the AL East race: 1,000. Last year, six teams in baseball got 1,000 innings from their starting pitchers, but only one came from the AL East — the Rays. … Pitching depth is the reason the Rays enter the season with such high expectations."
Sports Illustrated, which picks Rays to finish second and earn a wild card
"In Peña and Scott, they should get more production. And with a killer rotation in James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, … rookie Matt Moore (and) Jeff Niemann … there is no reason why it shouldn't carry Joe Maddon's club deep into September once again."
Scott Miller, CBSsports.com
"The Rays have arguably the best rotation in the American League, a more-than-adequate bullpen and a strong defense. But what about their offense? If this team, an overwhelming favorite to return to the postseason, has a big question mark as Spring Training winds down, it's the offense."
Hal Bodley, MLB.com columnist