The loss of center fielder Rocco Baldelli certainly hurts the Devil Rays' chances of making any movement in the division. Tampa has talent in the organization, but most of it is still in the minors and not ready to contribute this season.
One player ready to help is left-hander Scott Kazmir, who was acquired last season for Victor Zambrano. Kazmir was the New York Mets' best pitching prospect and made a quick impression when he joined the Devil Rays. Former first-round pick Dewon Brazelton leads an otherwise ordinary starting rotation.
Carl Crawford, a first-time all-star for the Devil Rays last season, takes over in center field as Rocco Baldelli recovers from an offseason knee injury.
_____ Breakdown _____
Lineup • CF Carl Crawford • 2B Jorge Cantu • RF Aubrey Huff • DH Josh Phelps • 1B Travis Lee • LF Julio Lugo • 3B Alex Gonzalez • C Toby Hall • CF Alex Sanchez Rotation • RHP Dewon Brazelton • LHP Mark Hendrickson • LHP Scott Kazmir • RHP Doug Waechter • RHP Rob Bell Closer • Danys Baez
• Best move: Trading for young pitcher Scott Kazmir at last year's deadline helps set up this year's rotation. • Biggest loss: Rocco Baldelli's offseason knee injury will hurt. • Top rival: Florida Marlins.
Carl Crawford replaces Baldelli in center. Crawford was a first-time all-star last season and could be on the verge of a breakout year. Aubrey Huff is an underrated player who is the team's best offensive star. He attracted interest from several teams this past offseason.
The bullpen is unspectacular, though closer Danys Baez is talented.
It's unlikely the Devil Rays can avoid last place.