Your guide to the Tampa Bay Rays' 2022 season
Opening day is barely a week away. If you haven't been following baseball, here are some talking points if you get cornered at a party:
The big picture: The Tampa Bay Rays' roster appears to be set with just a few question marks, mostly about pitchers.
- Flashback: The Rays have been known to shake things up at the last minute, so anything could happen.
Some names to know:
- Wander Franco returns after a strong rookie season and signing the largest contract in team history.
- Corey Kluber, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner who joined Tampa Bay as a free agent before the lockout, has become a leader.
- Taylor Walls, a switch hitter, is set to replace Joey Wendle from last year's squad. Wendle was traded to Miami.
The big question: Pitching staff.
- Fans could see as many as 14 or 15 pitchers during the season's opening month, including relievers who contributed to the Rays' first 100-win season in 2021.
- Manager Kevin Cash's strategy is to use the right pitcher in the right moment, and it has served to revolutionize the game.
The wild card: Rays players have been experimenting during spring practice with PitchCom electronic signaling devices that allow them to communicate wirelessly, without hand signals, via a remote control pad the catcher wears on his wrist and receivers in the hats of pitchers and infielders.
- MLB hasn't decided whether to allow the devices during games, which could prevent sign stealing and speed up the pace of play.
- Questions remain about whether they're loud enough and hack-proof.
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