If you’re okay with the way things are going with the Rays, then that’s A-OK, according to ESPN.
Because that’s the way they’re going to be for awhile, in the opinion of Sam Miller.
The Rays have the misfortune of playing in the AL East at a time the Red Sox and Yankees seem to “be going through a prolonged period of uncatchable dominance,” Miller writes.
So, what’s left to play for?
Since not every team can contend for a World Series, Miller created realistic goals for 2019 for each MLB team.
For the Rays, that means winning the AL East “with 95 or fewer wins” or “any winning record and at least three moves — trades, pickups, new strategies or player development successes — that pay off and feel smart.”
“Their larger sense of self-identity is ‘smart, plucky team that does more with less than any team in baseball.’” Miller writes. “But that’s only narrowly their self-identity, and it could easily slip into ‘hopelessly outgunned lower-class team with few fans and a near-amoral enthusiasm for underpaid assets.’”
So, while they’ve avoided tanking and are seldom far out of playoff contention, the Rays haven’t really been contenders in recent seasons, either.
Is that satisfying?
Miller suggests that satisfaction springs from the answers to these questions:
1. Are you proud of the team, or does it embarrass you?
2. Do the games matter? Is there a reason to tune in?
3. Is the team winning or losing on a given day?
“The Rays, more than any other organization," Miller writes, "seem to be perpetually (and currently) right there on the fence by all three scales, leaning ever so slightly to the 'satisfying’ side.”
So, if you’re good with that, then ... good?
“The Rays have an OK thing going,” Miller concludes, “and if they’re OK, it should stay OK. I think they feel reasonably happy.”