The Tampa Bay Rays are going through a very painful offseason.
With the loss of Carlos Pena to the Cubs (one year, $10 million) and Crawford to the Red Sox (seven years, $140 million) and the looming departure of closer Rafael Soriano, the Rays face the challenge of trying to still compete in the AL East.
Crazy as it sounds, it still can be done.
With a rotation built on Cy Young runner-up David Price, no-hitter and 15-game winner Matt Garza, veteran James Shields and youngsters Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson, the Rays rotation right now is a legitimate six deep.
The Rays can use some of that depth to help out a beleaguered bullpen that could have all completely new faces next season.
Enter Bobby Jenks.
The Chicago White Sox non-tendered their former closer and are moving in a different direction. Jenks could be available on a much more affordable rate, perhaps even signing a one-year deal like Soriano did, in hopes of rebuilding his value for the 2011 free agent market. Tampa has been a great landing spot to rebound for future markets (see Benoit, Joaquin, and Soriano, Rafael).
To help an offense losing Pena and Crawford, the Rays should take the risky and bold step of signing Manny Ramirez. Ramirez still is one of the best, if not the best right-handed hitter of this generation, and if Jim Thome still has something left in the tank at age 42, the hope would be that Ramirez, at 38, still can produce.
Maybe moving him back to the AL East can reignite some of the Manny of old, instead of an old Manny.