Matthew Silverman, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg
If one thing's for sure, the Rays have to be satisfied with themselves entering spring training.
The Rays were successful in filling in all three of their main roster holes; catcher, first base and DH. Not only were they able to get the guys they needed this winter, but they also did plenty of bargaining. For a small-market team like the Rays, making penny-wise deals is crucial during the offseason.The Rays set a perfect example of how financially-limited teams should operate, by doing a terrific job of negotiating free-agent acquisitions and contract extensions this winter.
However, I don't think it was a perfect offseason for Friedman & Co. The Rays may have whiffed at a few possible trades that should have been made, which would have traded away their surplus of pitching for a bat. One example of where the Rays could have been more aggressive was trading for top prospects Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal, who were both on the trade block and were perfect fits in Tampa. Instead, both of those big bats ended up in San Diego after a five-player swap with the Reds.
Another player the Rays might have missed out on was Anthony Rizzo, who was traded to the Cubs last month. Looking at the players Chicago had to give up to acquire Rizzo, the Rays likely will regret not snagging a phenom first-base prospect like Rizzo.
Back to the bright side of things, the Rays did avoid one trade that wouldn't have been such a smart idea. Despite trade rumors throughout the whole offseason, the Rays were able to hang on to B.J. Upton. Many will argue that trading away the Rays' centerfielder is the right choice, but Upton is actually a big part of an offense that's lacking.
Along with Upton, the Rays were able to keep (or replace) all their main offensive figures from last season. As for the rotation, all the starters from last year will be back in Tampa this season, with addition of Matt Moore's superstar talent.
At the end of the day, it's hard not to say the Rays' front office got the job done this winter.
Overall Grade for the Rays' Offseason: A-