As bad as the year 2020 has been, this year may end up having a silver lining for Tampa Bay Sports fans.
The Buccaneers signing of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in the off-season gives the Bucs one of their best rosters on paper since the early 2000s.
The Lightning are favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
And many are predicting the Tampa Bay Rays to make a deep playoff run that could end with the Rays winning the World Series.
The Rays will have some obstacles in their way. The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros stand in their way in the American League.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the defending champion Washington Nationals will not be a formidable challenge for any AL team in the World Series.
The closer is always a question mark for the Rays early in the season. Kevin Cash likes to start the season with a closer by committee.
That has to do with the Rays philosophy of finding guys that can be a Swiss Army knife of pitching. Someone that can spot start, pitch in relief, and possibly close in a game if needed.
The Rays had Diego Castillo, Emilio Pagan, and Jose Alvarado in that role last year. Castillo and Alvarado imploded at some point last year and by mid-season Pagan was the closer and stayed there for the rest of the season.
Pagan was traded to San Diego in the off-season in the Hunter Renfroe deal, so the Rays are looking for another closer.
Nick Anderson is a guy the Rays should take a hard look at and give a chance at closing out games.
Anderson was lights out last year after coming to the Rays in a trade with Miami. Anderson went 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA with 41 strikeouts and two walks in 21 innings.
The 30-year-old right-hander has a fastball in the 95-96 MPH range. But what sets Anderson apart is his wicked slider which hitters have a real problem picking up.
Cash may go with a closer by committee like he has done the last few years, but when the dust settles look for Nick Anderson to fill the closer role quite nicely.
The Rays started workouts on the first of July and there have been a few players that are important pieces of the team that have yet to make an appearance at Tropicana Field.
When a player does not show up for days, the possibility is there that the player may have tested positive for COVID.
The team generally does not announce who has tested positive, it is up to the player to reveal that information once they rejoin the team.
Pitcher Tyler Glasnow joined his teammates today and said that he tested positive for COVID but the symptoms he had were minimal.
Glasnow said he had mild cold symptoms and a brief loss of taste and smell. He said he was able to work out during his quarantine and that showed up at practice today as Glasnow threw 49 pitches.
Diego Castillo made his first appearance at Spring training 2.0 yesterday. Castillo who had been absent from camp said he was handling family business.
Jose Martinez, Randy Arozarena, and Yonny Chirinos have yet to join their teammates in workouts at Tropicana field.
Outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Brendan Mckay were seen the first few days of camp but have not been seen since.
If the Rays are going to finish the season with a deep playoff run, they are going to need Meadows and Chirinos.
This will be the strangest season ever in the history of baseball.
But as opening day gets closer, the excitement is building and we are all looking forward to seeing the Rays pick up where they left off last season.