The way the Bucs and Lightning are playing these days, it's hard not to let your thoughts drift to late February when Rays pitchers and catchers arrive in Port Charlotte for the start of spring training.
At least one Tampa Bay pro team has an intriguing outlook right now, even if it's not playing any games.
Coming off their amazing September playoff surge and the disappointment of a first-round loss to Texas, the Rays will head into the 2012 season with the reigning AL Manager of the Year, an abundance of pitching riches, a fortified situation behind the plate and a swirl of unanswered questions that could determine their fate.
Who'll start the season at shortstop? Will standout 2011 free-agent and future Hall of Famer Johnny Damon return to the roster as DH? Or will executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman who officially will be staying with the Rays and not pursuing the Astros GM job in his native Houston go looking for other free-agent tal...