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Ranking the newcomers to the Tampa Bay Rays for 2015

in Sports/Top Headlines by

The hope is that they all are wonderful. All-Stars. Impact players.

Alas, baseball doesn’t work that way.

In baseball, there will be some players who bounce back from last season’s problems and others who repeat them. If it’s up to the Tampa Bay Rays, however, which of their six newcomers would they prefer to have a good season.

1. Shortstop Brad Miller: A year ago, when the Rays looked at Asdrubal Cabrera, manager Kevin Cash stressed the team merely needed someone who could make the routine plays, the way former Ray Jason Bartlett did. Cabrera did that and more. Now, the Rays turn to Miller to do the same.

2. Designated hitter Corey Dickerson: Dickerson’s offensive numbers of a year ago were impressive when he wasn’t injured, but fans wonder how much of those numbers are because of the Colorado thin air. Dickerson moves to DH for the Rays so Desmond Jennings can play left.

3. First baseman Steve Pearce: Pearce brought some pop to the Orioles. He’ll try to do the same for the Rays, who may move incumbent James Loney to make room for him.

4. Catcher Hank Conger: Conger gives the team an experienced backup catcher, but he’ll have to do a better job with runners on base.

5. Relief pitcher Danny Farquhar: The Rays will spend a lot of the spring trying to find the right slots for their bullpen. With Jake McGee gone, an essential position will be that of set-up man. Whether Farquhar is steady enough for late-inning work, we’ll see.

6. Reserve Logan Morrison: With a crowded outfield, and with Pearce and Dickerson slated to be in the starting lineup, Morrison may struggle for enough at-bats.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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