April 17, 2021

For Willy Adames, 2021 Could Be Make or Break in Tampa (FanGraphs)

For the last three seasons, Willy Adames has been the Rays’ everyday shortstop, and he enters 2021 with that same job locked up. Tampa Bay continues to sport one of the most flexible rosters in baseball, but there’s no one on the 26-man roster currently who can handle shortstop regularly outside of him. On any other team, he could probably look forward to years of job security before he hits free agency in 2025. But on this team, Adames’ 2021 season is full of added pressure.

Adames made his major league debut in late May 2018; the month and a half he spent in the minors earned Tampa Bay an extra year of service time, which means he’ll go through his first round of salary arbitration after this season. Over his first three years in the majors, he’s been a player who’s above-average at many things but not good at any in particular, compiling a 106 wRC+ at the plate, oscillating between good and bad defensive seasons, and posting a total of 5.7 WAR. He’s a solid contributor to a team with championship aspirations. The problem is that he’s about to get a raise at exactly the wrong time.

The Rays’ blueprint for success is well known by now. Their seemingly…

Read “For Willy Adames, 2021 Could Be Make or Break in Tampa” at FanGraphs