- Matt Meyers
Not many clubs can survive the loss of a franchise player in his prime. In the past decade or so, the only notable time it's happened was the 2001 Seattle Mariners winning 116 games despite losing Alex Rodriguez to the Texas Rangers the year before.
There's no doubt that Crawford's absence puts the Rays a step behind both the Red Sox and New York Yankees in the AL East, but that doesn't mean we should write off Tampa Bay. Believe it or not, it's because the Rays have a lot of money to spend.
Matt Meyers evaluates the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays. They lost three notable players (Carl Crawford, Matt Garza and Carlos Pena), but with a little creative work before spring training (and one notable in-house move), they could contend with Boston and New York yet again.