ST. PETERSBURG -- Two days before the Rays open the season against the Yankees, Chris Archer stood in front of his locker at Tropicana Field and expressed his belief that Tampa Bay has the right stuff to return to prominence in 2017."I think we're super-talented," Archer said. "We need to
ST. PETERSBURG -- Two days before the Rays open the season against the Yankees, Chris Archer stood in front of his locker at Tropicana Field and expressed his belief that Tampa Bay has the right stuff to return to prominence in 2017.
"I think we're super-talented," Archer said. "We need to remain healthy, and we have a few guys who need to get healthy. And that will happen in due time. But with our ability to pitch and the upgrades that we've made as of late, they've been talking the whole offseason that they're going to go out and try to get guys to make us better defensively and on the offensive side. They literally have not stopped throughout the offseason and Spring Training.
"[The Rays have] added Peter Bourjos -- great defender. We've got two great defensive catchers, and guys have played really good at their respective positions at Spring Training, too. So I'm really looking forward to it."
Archer allowed that "there's always optimism" at the beginning of the season.
"You know, it's baseball," said Archer, who is the team's Opening Day starter. "Anything can happen. [That's] the beauty of this game, and I think if we stay healthy and just play this game, we have a chance to succeed just like anybody else."
Archer said the Rays have a lot of optimism and that "it's nice to have a fresh start."
"Especially after the past two years haven't been too awesome," Archer said. "But having Longo [Evan Longoria] coming off a strong year and some of the bullpen guys we've added, position players we've added, and the way certain players have looked during Spring Training, definitely looking forward to April 2 kicking it off."
While many have forecast the Rays to be at the bottom of the American League East, Archer maintains that the team has a quiet confidence inside the clubhouse that they are better than that.
"And I think that's typical for the Rays," Archer said. "We're always a sleeper. We're always an underdog. Nobody's going to give us some love until it's October 1 and we're still in this thing. As long as we take it day by day, we're talented in a different way than a lot of these teams. We're constructed differently. But those differences are our advantages."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.