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By Jake Bullington (Rays Correspondent) Follow @JakeyJake01
Part 1: The hitters:
2012 saw the Tampa Bay Rays miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They would finish a very respectable 90-win season and finish third in the AL Wild card. The offseason saw much of what Rays fans are used to from this small market club. Impact players such as B.J. Upton (ATL), Jeff Keppinger (CHW), and Carlos Pena (HOU), would move on to greener pastures and sign elsewhere. That meant GM Andrew Friedman and his team would get to work. They would pick up options on SP James Shields, CL Fernando Rodney, and C Jose Molina. They would decline the option on DH Luke Scott and later sign him back.
The offseason would also see the reworking of a long-term deal to keep the Rays 3B Evan Longoria in a Rays uniform at least through the 2022 season. But with Free Agency looming for “Big Game” James the Rays would do what they do best and send Shields, Wade Davis, and a PTBNL (Elliot Johnson) to the Royals for a prospect package that included future rotation regulars Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi and MLB.com 2nd best prospect OF Wil Myers. The Rays would shore up the middle of the infield by Signing and trading for the Blue Jays previous middle infield of Yunel Escobar (MIA) and Kelly Johnson (FA). To replace Carlos Pena, the Rays would sign Free Agent James Loney. The organization also brought back Joel Peralta on a deal that included a record three Club Options.
Desmond Jennings Highlights: