For just $7.25 million, the Rays have added both Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon in a package deal, and suddenly the demise of Tampa Bay is greatly exaggerated.
Both players are coming off disappointing 2010s, and both are nearing 40-years old, but both can still hit, and both immediately make the Rays a contender in the A.L. East, says Over The Monster.
It's getting to be a four team race, kind of. The Jays are much improved, certainly, though I still think they're going to have to wait for some of their trades to pay off in young talent to really hit it big. The Yankees are, of course, ever-present, and now here come the Rays. Manny instantly becomes one of the best batters on the team, replacing the offensive contributions of Carl Crawford, and Johnny Damon is a big improvement over the withered remains of Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell. For God's sake, Willy Aybar was their designated hitter for a good stretch.
There are still big questions surrounding the defense -- it's not easy to replace Carl Crawford, after all -- "but the Rays have pulled themselves back from that purgatory of 'almost contending,' and are once again part of the conversation, at the very least for the Wild Card."
The Rays -- and their new idiots --- visit Fenway Park April 11-13, Aug. 16-17 and Sept. 15-18.