BY: John Mamola
With spring training literally a few days away, the Tampa Bay Rays are getting set to make a run at another successful year under manager Joe Maddon. The Rays are coming off their third postseason appearance in the last four seasons, however never getting past the American League Divisional series in each of those appearances. One reason many believe the Rays have yet to get “over the hump” is the lack of a consistent offensive attack, something which Joe Maddon expects to improve greatly in 2014 as he spoke with WDAE’s ‘The Ron and Ian Show’ on Tuesday.
“I think you’re going to continue to see the ‘grind em out’ at bats and all these guys are going to continue to get better just because they’re good and with a little more experience you’ll see more hard contact and more consistency” said Maddon.
The Rays hit a combined .257 last season which was next to last (Yankees) in the American League East, and were next to last as well in runs scored (700) as well in the division. However the motto of pitching and defense wins ballgames for the Rays played well last year finishing with an AL East best 3.74 ERA and allowing the least runs (646) in the division.
Maddon says his jobs remains the same with doing the best with the players he’s been given by the franchise, but is happy to see the team spending money this offseason to a record level for payroll around eighty million dollars.