Tampa Bay Rays: Why They Will Not Repeat As AL Champs in 2021

The Tampa Bay Rays came within two wins of winning the 2020 World Series. Some faces have left from the team. Just like with every team changes have to be made. For the Rays, it’s time to focus on the 2021 season. The question that was put on me is can the Rays win the American League in 2021? There are many factors why they can and why they cannot. It is a young team that has to depend on the players that are developed. Ownership has a vision of what they want to do. Let’s see how the season goes in 2021. Here are my feelings on why they will not win the American League in 2021.

Payroll

The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the lowest payrolls in all of MLB. They have to depend on what players they draft and develop them. Ownership has to cut payroll because of Covid-19. But even before that, it all seems they want to cut payroll. This affects any team but especially when you’re in a division with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox who have the highest payrolls in all of MLB. We saw one Blake Snell have to be traded because ownership was trying to shed payroll. He was traded to the San Diego Padres for some players. It will hurt the Rays in 2021 because they will not have the same pitchers taking the mound.

Pitching

The Tampa Bay Rays lost not only Blake Snell but also lost Charlie Morton. Morton left as a free agent and signed with the Atlanta Braves. Which leaves a big void within the pitching staff. The Rays will have Tyler Glasnow as the ace of the staff. I am not saying that is a bad thing but losing Snell and Morton will make it harder to win. The Rays have signed Michael Wacha who is a veteran and they are hoping he can return to his former form. They also have Ryan Yarbrough, Shane McClanahan, Josh Fleming, Joe Ryan, and Brent Honeywell. Three of them will have to fill the void left by Snell and Morton.

Lack of Offense

There were times even in 2020 where the Tampa Bay Rays struggled to score runs. Many have said maybe manager Kevin Cash would not have been in the situation to have to pull Blake Snell in game six had they been able to score more runs. Hear me out. I am not saying the Rays will not be able to score runs in 2021. I think that many games were lost last year and most likely this year because of lack of scoring. This will also put more pressure on the pitching staff. They will need another great season from Randy Arozarena, Manuel Margot, and Austin Meadows. I look at a guy like Willy Adames who struggled in the World Series at the plate. The whole starting nine will have to step up or they will not win the American League in 2021.

Analytics

We all know this is a major aspect of sports. They take stats and a computer tells them where the weakness of a team is. No one knows what might have happened if Blake Snell had stayed in during game six. Many say that the Tampa Bay Rays would have won the World Series. Analytics told Kevin Cash that he would not make it through the lineup again. We all know the story he was taken out and the Los Angeles Dodgers took advantage. If this is a factor in 2021 how many games will it cost the Rays?

In the end, I am assuming that all of these factors will result in the Tampa Bay Rays not winning the American League in 2021. I could be wrong and all four of these could turn out to be why the Rays get back to the World Series. They will be battling with the New York Yankees for the AL East crown just like they did last year. They do not need all of these to get back just some of it. The team does not have any control over payroll that falls with ownership. The players do control the pitching and offense and it up to Kevin Cash and the staff to use analytics to help them not hurt them in 2021.

Are these the factors on why the Tampa Bay Rays will not repeat as AL Champions in 2021? Leave a comment below.

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