Rays Have Payroll Flexibility

The Rays can add payroll this summer, principal owner Stuart Sternberg told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. The Rays, who opened the season with a $73MM payroll, will likely have to spend less next year, but Sternberg believes 2010 is a special season. That means GM Andrew Friedman can make the moves he wants to, even if they increase payroll.

"We're going to do whatever we can, whatever's necessary, to try to give us the best opportunity to win this year,'' Sternberg said.

Sternberg says money will remain an obstacle, though it won't prevent the team from making deals. The Rays could use a designated hitter and multiple reports indicate that the team has some interest in Cliff Lee. The left-hander earns $9MM in 2010, and about $3MM of that total will remain on Lee's contract after the July 31st trade deadline. Sternberg insists that making the postseason is a priority for the Rays, who now lead the Red Sox by half a game for the AL Wild Card.

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32 Responses to Rays Have Payroll Flexibility Leave a Reply

  1. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    do the rays really need cliff lee? really?isn’t david price, matt garza, jeff neimann, wade davis, and jeremy hillickson in the wings enough?maybe if they got konerko(unlikely) or adam dunn to DH it would be ok. possibly another good 4th outfielder/spot starter/former regular on his old team sort of guy.

  2. invader3k 5 years ago

    They need offense way more than pitching. The Rays trading for Lee would be rather silly.

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      cant ever have too much pitching, adding a lefty ace that has dominated in the AL before is not a bad idea as long as your not giving up too much

  3. johnsilver 5 years ago

    Will believe it when I see it this team adding a 2-3M salary in season. Can’t ever recall ANY Rays team before doing this, just shedding salary during the season, but tightwad Sternberg is correct about one thing.. This season is special, with 1/2 of the Red Sox regular 8 on the DL, Beckett out most of the year, he is a fool to not try and get some help when his team desperately needs offense.

    • D09 5 years ago

      Tightwad Sternberg trotting out the most expensive payroll in the history of the team with an absolute horrid attendance compared to the level the team is at. Definitely a tightwad.

      • johnsilver 5 years ago

        They actually draw pretty decent when the NYY and Boston are at the Dome, then at least 1/2 are those teams fans also.. Would draw more fans for many games if not for that drive over the bridge into St.pete and that horrendous lease trapping them there until 2027 as well. Doomed…

    • I wanted to clarify I don’t like this statement, but to call someone a tightwad that has increased the payroll year after year since he has arrived, is quite an ignorant characterization. Yes, they have never done it before, but we forget in their short history this is only the third time they are within 10 games of the first place team in their division at this point of the season.

      • johnsilver 5 years ago

        This team has drafted very well, granted. They need to keep these guys perhaps, though they did fleece the Twins with the Garza/Bartlett swap for Delmon Young and Harris, so spending on the draft they seem to do a very admirable job on, but the payroll is probably going to tumble this off season after Crawford and Pena leave have a feeling, though hope it does not as I like also seeing another power house team in the AL east.

        That being within 10 games of 1st place does not insulate the rays from going into salary dump mode however, nor does being within 4-5 games as late as late August with Boston rolling into town for a crucial series, like last year when they moved Scott Kazmir to Anaheim and immediately fell out of contention.

        I would just like to see this team somehow ditch that lease and move to the other side ‘of the bridge” where they can actually draw from a larger fan base and then maybe afford to keep key pieces like the Crawfords.

        • vtadave 5 years ago

          Pretty sure dealing Kazmir, who had a 5.10 ERA in August before the trade, isn’t what caused the Rays to fall out of contention.

        • HOLD UP, are you saying trading Scott Kazmir was just a salary dump? I mean granted he was lighting it up with a stellar ERA close to 6 and always having the ability to pitch 6+ innings. However, looking back on it now with this years duplicate performance from Kaz, I am most definitly certain it was just a salary dump, b/c who would turn away such numbers to get a solid middle infeilder in a trade.

          • Scott Bussey 5 years ago

            The Kazmir trade was great for the Rays. They got out of that contract. Pena leaving is not a huge loss in my opinion but Crawford leaving is. BUT the Rays have Desmond Jennings in triple A right now who is a legit prospect. Also their owner is one of the best in baseball. Who else would spend money when the team is averaging 22,000 fans a game? Last year they were the defending American League champs and they drew 1.8 million fans, that is sad when you are the defending league champs and you can’t even break 2 million. I’m not so sure that a move to downtown Tampa would make all that much difference either. If the drive was a factor you would think they would at least sell out the weekend games but there are empty seats for games on Saturday night there. I hope something happens though because that is a very good franchise and their farm system is stacked, that team is going to be a contender for awhile, hopefully the fans start showing up.

          • johnsilver 5 years ago

            No, It was giving up on post season and a salary dump rolled into one and that high 5.00 ERA went back to around 2 when he was acquired by Anaheim for the stretch run as recall also. What good di a minor league infielder do when they needed a veteran starter at the time anyway in the middle of a pennant run? Just thoughts on it and probably the same thoughts of most any fan everywhere, since those same ones were going on wondering why Tampa would chuck the season.

  4. oremlk 5 years ago

    They could use a veteran top of the rotation starter with playoff experience. It helps a lot in the postseason.

    But I agree that they need offense more.

  5. why does everyone say they need more offense???!!! i believe they are 5th in the league in runs scored…watch the rays put up a 10 spot the next two nights against the bosox

    • East Coast Bias 5 years ago

      Yeah, I Agree. Weren’t the Rays looked at as one of the top offenses in the league as early as last month?

      • jwredsox 5 years ago

        Not really. I think it was fangraphs who after the Rays went on that great run they looked at their offense and based on their stats their offense should have scored a lot less runs than they did. Their offense has been lucky with non performers like Pena, Bartlett, DH spot, ect.

    • Yankees420 5 years ago

      While they might be near the top in runs scored, their DH spot has put up a very weak slash line (I’m too lazy to look it up, but trust me it’s not good) and since that is the one spot in the lineup solely dedicated to offense, they could use and “offensive” upgrade in those terms.

  6. $3081341 5 years ago

    I agree DH first, then T.O.R. pitcher.

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      thats a tall order, and impact bat and a top of the rotation guy, would you really want to give that many top prospects up?

  7. sportsnut969 5 years ago

    Well if they need a 4th outfielder the Indians have Austin Kearns and Shelly Duncan

    • vtadave 5 years ago

      Shelly Duncan? Why not just call up Desmond Jennings instead?

  8. They are Fifth in runs scored Overall, but they need to up the average. However the rule of thumb to use is that there is always room for more pitching in the Majors. Great pitching wins World Series! Arguement to get Lee I propose a trivia question. Tell me what was the starting Pitcher that won the only two games the Phillies won vs the Yanks in the World Series last year?

    • Grieve4MVP 5 years ago

      Bro you are such a loser, go travel to Europe with Gabe Kapler, Brian Shouse, and Bob Bradley

  9. budman3 5 years ago

    Jose Guillen, with the Royals adding some salary, for a solid(not top prospect) would be perfect for the Rays.

    • vtadave 5 years ago

      Sorry budman, but Jose Guillen isn’t “perfect” for anyone…

      • Bravoboy10 5 years ago

        That’s where your wrong, he was made for Seattle. Can you imagine the quality of a reality tv show with him AND Milton starring?

  10. Lee would certainly be a good fit for the Rays if they can pull it off. Getting better at scoring runs or getting better at preventing runs, either way it improves the team. Lee would also really help when/if they get into the playoffs as well. As good as their young guys are you can’t argue with the results that Lee has gotten the last few years.

    As far as payroll going down next year, Burrell will be off the books, Pena might be and Upton as well. It’s not impossible to envision a scenario where the Rays trade for and then resign Lee. Far fetched maybe but not impossible. That would leave them with holes to fill offensively but they could do it.

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