Tampa Bay Rays

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MLB American League East Tampa Bay Rays 2022

In 2021, the Rays had the fifth-lowest payroll in all of baseball, but they still finished atop a loaded American League East. With four teams finishing with 91 wins or more, the division will once again be extremely competitive in 2022.

Still, expect the Rays to continue to compete with the much bigger markets.

With one of the deepest pools of prospects and a major league lineup that features stars like Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, and Brandon Lowe, this team should again be a force offensively. In 2021, they finished second in the majors in scoring, averaging 5.28 runs per game, and it would not be shocking to see them finish high on the list again.

For as good as their offense was, their pitching was similarly strong. They finished fourth in team earned run average at 3.73. 

Being so strong in all facets of the game, it is not surprising that the Rays are tied for the seventh-best odds of winning the World Series next season. While they may not spend like the biggest markets, they are certainly just as competitive.

MLB American League East Tampa Bay Rays History

In 1998, Major League Baseball expanded its slate of teams from 28 to the 30 that currently exists in the league today. Along with the Arizona Diamondbacks, it was with this expansion where the Tampa Bay Rays were born.

Originally known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the team has been part of the American League East since its inception. 

In order to field a roster, an expansion draft was held in Phoenix, Arizona. The general manager of the Rays at the time was Chuck LaMar, who made the team’s selections. 

The first five selections for the Rays consisted of pitcher Tony Saunders, outfielder Quinton McCracken, outfielder Bobby Abreu (traded to the Phillies for Kevin Stocker), second baseman Miguel Cairo, and outfielder Rich Butler.

When analyzing the franchise all the way back to its roots in 1998, they have a winning percentage of just .483 (1,826 – 1,958). Over the last five years, though, the Rays have been a force in the AL East. In that time, they have a combined record of 406 – 302.

Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Rays stadium remains Tropicana Field. Their current lease ends in 2027, and there is some speculation that the team could move or possibly even split their season in two locations (rumored to be Florida and Montreal).

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Aerial view of Tropicana Field St Petersburg Florida photograph taken March 2021

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