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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