• Is This The Last Season The Yanks Need To Worry About Rays?

    Posted by on September 23rd, 2010 · Comments (13)

    Via Marc Topkin

    No matter how far the Rays go this season, it won’t alter principal owner Stuart Sternberg’s plans to reduce the payroll — potentially significantly — from the record $72 million.

    “No question. Nothing can change that,” Sternberg said Tuesday. “Unfortunately there’s nothing that can happen between now and April that can change that unless Joe Maddon hits the lottery and wants to donate it or I hit the lottery.”

    Cutting the payroll — to the $50 million range or lower — will mean breaking up the team that the Rays worked to build given that top players such as Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano and Carlos Peña are pending free agents.

    “We put everything in place to have it happen, to put us in a position so we’d be able to keep adding, keep signing, (doing) more long-term deals, stuff like that,” he said. “It wasn’t meant to be.”

    I’m not ready to paint Sternberg as a “blow-up the team” Wayne Huizenga type owner. If anything, I would paint him as a “give me a ballpark that draws or I’m moving” Walter O’Malley type owner. Then again, maybe this is just his way of saying “We think Desmond Jennings, Dan Johnson and Jeremy Hellickson will allow us to let Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano and Carlos Peña walk and save on payroll next season”?

    What do you think? Is this the last season that the Yankees will have to worry about the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East – at least for a while?

    Comments on Is This The Last Season The Yanks Need To Worry About Rays?

    1. MJ Recanati
      September 23rd, 2010 | 8:47 am

      I truly do wonder if a new stadium would work in that market. I don’t live in Tampa and, heck, I’ve never even been to Tampa but everything I hear about it tells me that the locals are just not that into major league baseball.

      In any case, the Yanks have to worry about Tampa because their pitching is solid and because their GM has shown creativity in turning redundancies into newer, better, and more useful assets. With Hellickson’s emergence, the Rays could easily afford to trade Matt Garza or Wade Davis to a team and use that new player to replace Carlos Pena (for example).

    2. lordbyron
      September 23rd, 2010 | 9:20 am

      I’m also not sure a new ballpark will help in that market. That said, in this era of revenue sharing, I’m always skeptical of teams crying the blues about their financial woes and the Tampa organization is no
      exception. They do, however, continue to draft well and really develop their young talent, so they can replace most of the players they may lose to free agency and still compete.

    3. MJ Recanati
      September 23rd, 2010 | 9:25 am

      lordbyron wrote:

      They do, however, continue to draft well and really develop their young talent, so they can replace most of the players they may lose to free agency and still compete.

      I’d agree with that. The Rays scouting department seems to do a very good job at identifying talent and their farm system seems to really be able to turn that talent into something usable at the next level.

    4. Corey Italiano
      September 23rd, 2010 | 9:36 am

      I don’t see why they couldn’t sign Carlos Pena…who’s going to sign him to a big money contract?

    5. MJ Recanati
      September 23rd, 2010 | 9:56 am

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      I don’t see why they couldn’t sign Carlos Pena…who’s going to sign him to a big money contract?

      I agree that there’s no reason they can’t sign Pena, I just don’t think they will. His numbers have declined over the past three seasons and, with Scott Boras as an agent, the Rays don’t need the hassle that’ll come with trying to bring Pena back. They can find another corner infielder to replace him.

      I predict Pena signs with the Orioles. They need a corner infielder and have been practically begging free agents to take their money the past few years.

    6. Corey Italiano
      September 23rd, 2010 | 10:14 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      That’s fair and I totally agree. I just hate how they play the “we’re too poor card”. Puhhlease.

    7. Raf
      September 23rd, 2010 | 10:54 am

      A lot depends on the moves that Tampa will make. I think they’ll be a threat the next few years, but I don’t see them being a consistent one like the Red Sox. They’ll be just as prone to building and rebuilding like the majority of MLB teams. Quite a few people have snickered at the misfortunes of the Red Sox, but they’re in the same place the Yanks were a couple of years ago with the number of injuries. I’d be wary of them next year.

    8. EHawk
      September 23rd, 2010 | 1:57 pm

      I’m a Yanks fan and live in Tampa…moved here a few years ago from NY. I do agree to a point with what you are all saying. However the issue is not that there aren’t enough Rays fans…if you go out around town to sports bars you do see a lot of people watching the games and wearing Rays apparel. The real issue is that the fans just don’t want to go out to the games because of the location of the Stadium in downtown St. Pete. The Rays draw well on weekend games however during weekday games is where they suffer. The Trop is located in downtown St. Pete and is a real pain to get to…traffic is awful and parking is even worse. With traffic and trying to get there from leaving work its almost impossible to get there on time if you leave work in Tampa at 5pm.

      The Rays need to get a stadium built near downtown Tampa…it would be more centrally located and easier for people to get to from out in the suburbs and even from Orlando which is a little over an hour from Tampa. Tampa is also a bigger, younger and more sports focused city then St. Pete. Its a shame because they do have a good team and it is fun to go to the games especially when the Yanks are in town and tickets are like $15-$20 for most upper deck seats which are great view to watch a game.

    9. September 23rd, 2010 | 2:06 pm

      EHawk wrote:

      The Trop is …a real pain to get to…traffic is awful and parking is even worse. With traffic and trying to get there from leaving work its almost impossible to get there on time if you leave work in Tampa at 5pm.

      That’s funny, that’s what I always say about going to games at the new Yankee Stadium. But, then again, there’s a train option in NY too.

    10. EHawk
      September 23rd, 2010 | 2:20 pm

      Well the subway/metro north makes a huge difference. I was home over the summer in NY and I’m from upstate and we took the Metro North train from Poughkeepsie and about 80 mins later we were dropped off right at the stadium. If they had that option here in Tampa to get to St. Pete which is only about 20 miles or so away across the Bay I think a lot more people would go to week night games. Since its not an option its best to build a new stadium in Tampa. There is real talk among the residents here that they think they will lose the team if they don’t get a stadium…I heard the Rays owner Sternberg (who I think live in NY) would look at CT or NJ as a place to move them to.

    11. September 23rd, 2010 | 2:30 pm

      Mets and Yanks would block a move to CT or NJ, for sure.

    12. MJ Recanati
      September 23rd, 2010 | 2:46 pm

      EHawk wrote:

      I heard the Rays owner Sternberg (who I think live in NY) would look at CT or NJ as a place to move them to.

      Sternberg can dream on if he thinks the Yanks will ever waive their territorial rights for the Rays. And, frankly, Sternberg is a Goldman Sachs alum so he should know that it would make any financial sense for him to move from one suburb to another, especially after what the Yanks and Mets would demand in concessions from him to get the deal done.

    13. EHawk
      September 23rd, 2010 | 3:32 pm

      I agree there is no way that the NY teams and Boston would allow them to move to new england area. Check this article out by Joel Sherman from earlier this year.

      http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/more_sports/must_leave_st_pete_to_compete_long_qo7xv0gR2rL7InzYrgkqaM

      He is right on and I think the only way they will be able to last in Tampa area is if they move to the downtown area.

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