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?