What remains should be a better defensive ballclub in 2017, with solid pitching and a flexible lineup that looks to be capable of scoring runs.
Entering the 2016 season, Rays management took a swing at improving the offense. The experiment didn't work out, which helped explain the club's lackluster 34-54 first-half record.
The defense began to improve after Brad Miller moved from shortstop to first base, Matt Duffy came in to play shortstop, Luke Maile and Curt Casali began to split the catching duties and American League Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder Kevin Kiermaier came off the disabled list.
The Rays went from 20th in the Major Leagues in fielding in the first half (.983 percentage, 55 errors in 88 games) to 13th in the second (.985 percentage, 39 errors in 74 games).
In line with the fielding frustrations was the Rays' 13-27 record in one-run games. No doubt some of those fielding miscues played a role in the team's close games.
The additions of Colby Rasmus and speedy Mallex Smith, along with a full season of Duffy at shortstop and Kiermaier in center, should ensure that the Rays' defense will be solid. In turn, that should help the team's starting rotation.
The only remaining question for the defense is: Who will start at second base?
Tim Beckham, Nick Franklin and Daniel Robertson will all get a look at the position. If one of them does not step forward, a platoon situation might develop, or Miller could move from first to take hold of second.