Union Chief: Contraction Not A Likely Threat To Rays

Contraction is not likely to be a threat to the Rays existence, according to players union chief Michael Weiner, writes Marc Topkin St. Petersburg Times.  Furthermore, if the owners do raise the idea of eliminating teams in the upcoming labor negotiations, the union is poised to fight it.

"Having been in bargaining in baseball since the late '80s, anything is fathomable, so we don't either take anything for granted or rule anything out,'' Weiner said after meeting with Rays players . "…All I would say is if that changes, if contraction becomes a goal of the owners in this negotiation, the tenor of the talks would change quickly and dramatically.''

Comissioner Bud Selig was also asked about the issue of contraction today and said that it is not an option – even for teams struggling financially such as the Rays and Athletics, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

Weiner added that the union is less-than-thrilled with Tampa Bay's slashing of payroll and will monitor the club's spending in order to ensure its long-term health.  The team's payroll is expected to be less than $60MM, a drop-off from $72MM in 2010.

Contraction is not likely to be a threat to the Rays existence, players union chief Michael Weiner said today, and if the owners do raise the idea of eliminating teams in the upcoming labor negotiations, the union is poised to fight it.

Full Story | 98 Comments | Categories: Tampa Bay Rays

98 Responses to Union Chief: Contraction Not A Likely Threat To Rays Leave a Reply

  1. iheartyourfart 4 years ago

    contract the mets.

    • LiveFastCyYoung 4 years ago

      First comment to ever make me actually laugh out loud on this site.

    • The Mets are a miserable franchise, but the LAST thing anyone should be suggesting is doubling the size of the Yankees’ market, even in jest.

  2. Drew Tweedie 4 years ago

    I read this article – somewhat serious subject matter, no less – and yet the only thing my mind hones in on is how often Michael Weiner must’ve been picked on in grade school.

  3. What happens to all their players if they do get contracted? Do they become free agents?

    • I’m wondering the same thing, my guess though is that they just move the organization to a new location.

    • There would be a dispersal draft…something I never hope to see.

      • A dispersal draft of the Rays would be like Christmas for teams.

        • That would be amazing, imagine how different baseball would be if that happened.

        • Yes, it should would be. Longoria, Jennings, Price, that farm system…jeez, it would be better than Christmas. But I still don’t want to see it happen!

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            It would suck to be Price, Longoria, Jennings, etc in that situation, as they would go from a very good TB team to the lousiest of the lousy.

          • If they were all FA it would solve the yankees pitching problem

          • Also true. But their salaries wouldn’t change, so that might eliminate some teams. I wonder if teams could trade their selections…Pirates draft Longoria, but trade him to the Yankees for a bunch of prospects.

  4. Out of nowhere he says the Rays aren’t likely to be contracted… when no one was even suggesting that? It’s like getting onto a bus and the driver turns suddenly to you and says, “I am totally not drunk.”

    Well, NOW I’m worried.

    • kdawg89 4 years ago

      Actually the rumor about the Rays and A’s has been floating around for about a month or so. It’s just now being addressed because so many people were getting worried, like yourself.

  5. I say move them somewhere that appreciates them like Nashville or Charlotte

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      i am all in favor of having that franchise moved. but doing anything to break up the organization would be a crime

      if they are putting a winning product on the field (they are, in the toughest division in baseball which is loaded with largest-market clubs), their payroll should not be questioned. they are running a business and running it extremely well

      • MaineSox 4 years ago

        Yeah exactly, if someone came up with a contraction plan that made sense I could support it, but contracting the Rays makes no sense whatsoever. They should absolutely be moved to a location where people would actually show up to the ballpark though.

      • a 1st place team couldn’t even fill half its ball park. Something is wrong there.

    • kdawg89 4 years ago

      The Rays would most likely be moved to the San Antonio area.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      Vancouver needs a baseball team

      its a world class city, with a big population with high average incomes

      not too mention its the hot bed of canadian baseball talent

    • kdawg89 4 years ago

      We appreciate them here..just not enough young people in this area that have money. The economy is absolutely HORRIBLE down here. National restaurant chain’s aren’t even making it..they just closed all the Whattaburgers and most of the Sonic’s in this area. They closed about 50% of the K Mart’s. There’s no money and the old retirees that do have it don’t spend it, especially on baseball games.

  6. AJCBE 4 years ago

    It’s crazy that the Yankees attract about the same amount of fans to early Spring Training games as the Rays do in late regular season games.

    • kdawg89 4 years ago

      Because 70% of the baseball fans here are from the Northeast.

  7. phoenix2042 4 years ago

    i would recommend moving them instead of contracting them. also, they are such a well run organization, getting 96 wins out of 72mil and this year probably at least 85 out of 60mil, they don’t deserve to be penalized like a team that skimps out on payroll and on field performance to make a profit, like the pirates.

  8. Move them to Raleigh. Raleigh has been great for the NHL’s Hurricanes. They need another team and it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      great to the huricanes indeed, I was overwhelmed when I went to the game

      however the fanbase never took on to the nba, which I found weird considering basketball is huge there

  9. MLB should just move the Nationals back to Montreal and re-name them the Expos. Problem solved, no contraction needed.

  10. Raleigh Rays or North Carolina Rays sounds to corny, Tampa Bay Rays, now thats something.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      they would probably change the name just like they did the expos. maybe they should be called the Montreal Nationals

    • davengmusic 4 years ago

      East Bay Rays

  11. why contract the rays when you can contract the pirates? just saying.

    • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

      Since Florida as a state seems to be a poor market for the MLB, contracting the Marlins would have made the most sense if they didn’t build the new stadium.

      • Cory Charles Allen 4 years ago

        Yeah, contract the team that has actually won something(i.e. two championships.) The Rays draw just as bad as the Marlins do, and they don’t have nearly as much history as the Marlins do. Marlins just get a bad rap because of their two firesales. Been very consistent since, Payroll will be at 58 mill this year, and around 75-80 next year.

        • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

          History or not, if a rumor came out revolving around the A’s, who have great history, then all teams like the Marlins should be rumored about also.

          The only 2 teams that did worse in average attendance than Florida in 2010 were Oakland and Cleveland. Cleveland we know fills up when they do well. Florida, just like the Rays, gets zero increase in attendance when their team plays well, and who knows how many of those tickets they gave away.

          Also, in the years the Marlins won the WS:

          • 2003, 28th in attendance
          • 1997, 11th

          Perhaps the state is still hungover from 1997.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      because then pittsburgh’s stadium would go to waste,

      and that would be a darn shame

    • jwredsox 4 years ago

      Because the Pirates actually have a good stadium and a history

  12. kdawg89 4 years ago

    I think the Rays ownership basically is saying” Why should we spend even $100 million when we can compete for $60-$70?”…I think they’re just ran so well that the deficiencies of the way other clubs are ran have to be covered up by overspending. I’m sorry but I will always be a firm believer there should be salary caps in ALL sports. I’m sure I’ll be getting blasted shortly by all the “wealthy” teams fans but seriously… Why shouldn’t they cap the salaries and make EVERYTHING more affordable for the fans? I’m sorry but mediocre players making $2-$3 million a year is ridiculous,much less the $20 million + contracts.

    • stl_cards16 4 years ago

      Adding a salary cap would not make anything more affordable for the fans. If you don’t like the prices of baseball games, you should check out what it costs to attend a NFL or NHL game. They are going to charge as much as people will pay no matter how much they have to spend to put a team on the field.

      I’m a “mid market” team fan and I have no interest in a salary cap. Especially when you consider we will at least miss one full season of baseball to get that accomplished. No thanks.

    • DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

      I’m not going to quarrel with your salary cap argument, because there are arguments on both sides. I simply want to point out that it’s a bit simplistic to call a team “well-run” when its business model is to string together ten abysmal seasons in a row, and then to draft Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, B.J. Upton, Delmon Young, Jeff Niemann, Reid Brignac, Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Jeremy Hellickson, Evan Longoria, and David Price and wait until the perfect confluence of home-grown players hitting their stride propels you to a few winning seasons.

      Granted, the Rays have drafted well (they have no choice), but it’s easy to find a few can’t-miss players like Longoria when you are consistently picking in the Top 5 and have revenue-sharing money to spend on the draft. I have a hard time crediting the Rays for exposing the deficiencies of other teams when the build-up to the promiseland consisted of an entire decade of not just mediocrity, but absolute suckitude. Large-market teams that make the bulk of their profits from television revenues simply cannot afford to toil in obscurity for that long, which is why the Red Sox feel compelled to break payroll records even in a “bridge” year, so to speak.

      The true test before we coronate Rays management will be to see if they can sustain success while their homegrown talent shuffles off to greener pastures. The trick for them will be staggering the contracts of their cost-controlled talent to ensure that there is always a critical mass in place. That remains to be seen, as we have just witnessed the loss of their very first franchise player…

      • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

        You’re mostly right, but keep in mind that their fortunes started changing once this current group of leadership took over, changing the philosophy, business model, as well as the name (Devil Rays).

        • DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

          kdawg and ECB,

          I am not taking away from the current ownership group — I’m simply saying that they don’t have enough of a track record to serve as a model franchise because they haven’t gone through a full cycle of losing cornerstone players yet. We don’t know if their business model works until we see how many years, if any, they are forced to tread water while they wait for the next crop of cheap talent to mesh.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            “they don’t have enough of a track record to serve as a model franchise because they haven’t gone through a full cycle of losing cornerstone players yet”

            can’t really agree with this. retaining their cornerstone players and investing in the draft this year wasn’t a viable option financially; there are seventeen paying fans in tampa

            the model for a successful small-market franchise preceded tampa’s illustration of it. they’re just doin’ it and doin’ it well at the moment. despite losing numerous free agents, they’ll field a team that would win many divisions this season – and will compete in the AL east. at the same time, they’re poised to collect a king’s ransom in the draft – the same level haul that made them elite to begin with

            is there something they could have done a lot better than they have? little transaction-by-transaction things, maybe. but in terms of an overall scheme in light of their budgetary lot? pretty close to optimal

            you are of the same school of thought right now that had people continuously injecting “LET’S SEE HIM WIN SOMETHING” into conversations about how well anthopolous was doing this offseason. yes, it’s known that there is a future and that he will have to continue to do good things in it in order to keep deserving praise. but the current praise is not due to the future; it is due to the fact that so far he’s been about as good as anyone could be

            so it goes with tampa. if they revert to fail, i’m confident most everyone will here will return to trashing them. no need to conflate praise and “coronation”. we’re not pledging our everlasting love and admiration. we’re saying “hey, good job” with a dash of “see, small markets can do it too”

      • kdawg89 4 years ago

        Well..In response to that, you’re using what Vince Namoli and Chuck Lamar did with this team, i.e. run it into the ground, compared to what Sternberg and Friedman have done. That is produce a winning franchise through development of young talent and a few veteran signings of players that most teams had thrown on the scrap heap (Pena,Benoit,Balfour,Hinske,Floyd,Howell..well that’s a few) anyway…So PLEASE make sure you know EXACTLY what you’re comparing before saying the management we have doesn’t deserve credit because they do..and C.C. wasn’t our first franchise player we lost…Aubrey Huff was, and let’s not forget Josh Hamilton.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        List all the red sox draft picks in the same time frame and its probably a more impressive list than the one you compiled..

        point being, its about drafting well, not necessarily the draft position.

  13. Ben Roth 4 years ago

    I really would like to see the Rays moved and the Pirates contracted, if that must be done. I hate the idea of contraction, but what do the Pirates have to offer? Nothing. The Rays are so promising, even if they let Crawford go only to sign Manny and Damon. What if they made a simple switch and became the Durham Bulls and the Bulls went to Tampa? Then they could stay within the same organizational ‘zone’. I would absolutely hate to see the A’s go, they are wayyyyy to well run. What about contracting the Pirates and Astros? They both have nothing to offer. What revenue Houston loses will only make the Rangers stronger… GO TIGERS.

    • stl_cards16 4 years ago

      Of course you say the Pirates, everyone picks on the Pirates. But the Astros? That makes no sense at all. The Astros have a very good fan base, maintain a payroll over 90M while still making profit, and have been relevant in the last decade. Maybe you don’t remember the last 10-15 years but the Astros have had alot of success. They appeared in a World Series just 6 years ago(one year before your Tigers) Just because a team goes through a re-building mode does not mean they should be contracted.

    • Fruitbowl 4 years ago

      I’ll take the Pirate fan base over the Ray or Marlin fans any day of the week. Florida fans don’t even show up when their teams are good.

      Contract the Pirates, ban ownership to some offshore labor camp, relocate Rays to Pittsburgh. They’ll get fans who care and a nice beautiful stadium at no cost.

  14. RahZid 4 years ago

    So the union is mad that the Rays took $12M off of payroll even considering what they lost? Not to mention how much more cash they need to sign all of these high draft picks that they have. Absolutely ridiculous.

    • johnsilver 4 years ago

      Wouldn’t you know it? Someone should tell weiner to take a look around at what the Rays lost and why the salary dropped and also at current events with regards to unions and the struggles going on.. Weiner might wanna’ back off some.. the one he runs ought to be the next to crumble and burn.

  15. Kyle 4 years ago

    Thank god the giants did not move to Tampa. They were so close to moving in the mid 90s.

    • Whole_New_World 4 years ago

      Yep, that was a done deal before last second owners were found. The St. Petersberg Giants. Blah. They’re probably talking about contracting that team in some alternate universe.

  16. vonhayesdays 4 years ago

    they should contract the team with the worst attendance, i think if the people in the city where the team plays dont want to go there and watch their team , then the shouldnt have one simple , stop wasting our time being major farm organizations. I know every team has true fans but some teams arent even trying to win

    • RahZid 4 years ago

      Disagree! They should contract the team that has shown an inability to field a quality product. A teams poor attendance many only reflect the market where the team is located (i.e Tampa)

      • TheodoreRoosevelt 4 years ago

        …and other factors, such as the lack of fairness in a division like the AL East. But is it really good for baseball when a *successful* team is playing in a ghost town ballpark?

        • RahZid 4 years ago

          No it isn’t, but you don’t dissolve the franchise, you relocate them.

      • DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

        I fail to see how fielding a quality product in a market that refuses to purchase said product is an argument against contraction.

        If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…

      • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

        that a valid point , their is just no easy to contract a few years ago it was gonna be minnesota , now they wouldnt dream of that, what do you do take the pirates away because they have been so bad for so long , but have a rich history , its a real noodle scratcher for sure

      • vonhayesdays 4 years ago


      • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

        another thing , if your team is located in a place they dont want you. you could always move it to a more desirable location

    • TheodoreRoosevelt 4 years ago

      Attendances go up and down, even for the so-called ‘big teams’. What is baffling, though, is a winning team that does not draw good attendances. Evan Longoria or David Price made this point when the Rays were on the brink of the playoffs, and still pulling in shocking crowd numbers. There is no way around it – there is an issue there.

      • MaineSox 4 years ago

        There is an issue there as you say, but I don’t think contraction is the right answer for the Rays (not sure that that is what you were implying btw) I think the more reasonable thing to do, as far as the Rays go, is relocation.

        • kdawg89 4 years ago

          If they would just let the team build a new stadium in a better location attendance would probably go up 10,000 fans a game on average. They draw 23,000 now in an antiquated stadium with barely enough parking and in a terrible area. They need to build them a stadium in Tampa on the waterfront,

          • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

            Its hard to believe in a place called tampa bay they dont have a waterfront stadium

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            Sure, if relocating to a better location in the same general area does the trick that would be great.

      • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

        That was truly pathetic they gave tickets away last year right and still no sell out , im a phillies fan and we still went to games when they were god awful and played in rat infested carpet covered concrete dump aka The Vet. I guess florida just doesnt like baseball as much as they like the dolphins or the heat or the magic

        • kdawg89 4 years ago

          Agreed…this has ALWAYS been a football area. People would rather go to a Gators or Bucs game

        • guest_54 4 years ago

          “. . .we still went to games when they were god awful and played in rat infested carpet covered concrete dump aka The Vet.”

          These statements make it sound like Phillie fans packed the house even in the bad stadium and when the Phillie teams were awful. Fact is, the fans didn’t really start filling up the stadium consistently until the new stadium was built. It is rather disingenuous to say or suggest otherwise. Granted, they did have “better” attendance figures. However, you have to look at the size of the market (Philadelphia’s metro area population is approximately double that of the Tampa metro area) and the long history. Rays fans have only been around since the 1998 season while Philadelphia has been building a fan base for over 100 years.

          Below is the numbers (from baseball-reference) for Philadelphia games from 1996-2003. The new stadium was opened for the 2004 season.

          2003 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 2,259,948 (27,901)
          2002 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 1,618,467 (20,231)
          2001 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 1,782,054 (22,001)
          2000 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 1,612,769 (19,911)
          1999 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 1,825,337 (22,535)
          1998 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 1,715,722 (21,182)
          1997 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 1,490,638 (18,403)
          1996 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium 1,801,677 (22,243)

          • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

            the few the proud

          • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

            i said we not everybody packed the house you assume to much

          • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

            another thing is you guys were winning , the phillies were regularly losing for the last 100 years except early 80’s and that almost wonderful 93 thanks blue jays thanks alot

        • The tickets were gone in a little over an hour when they gave them away. Not sure where you’re getting your info.

          • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

            my bad , how many times did they give tickets away , whats next free beer

      • mwagner26 4 years ago

        When a playoff contending team has to hand out THOUSANDS of free tickets during a playoff run, something is seriously wrong.

        I don’t understand why anyone would consider splitting apart the Rays franchise. The management has shown in recent years that they’re good.

  17. TimotheusATL 4 years ago

    I guess the only amusing thing here is that anyone expects any franchise to be contracted.

  18. start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    Alright, if contraction happens it’s going to be because of a combination of lack of attendance, lack of profits, and geography to some extent. I’d say the Athletics, the Royals, the Blue Jays, and the Marlins would be the top teams on any list for contraction. Of course then the league would have to be reorganized so there’s 14 teams per league. I’m guessing the Brewers go back to the American League.

    • kdawg89 4 years ago

      Won’t be the Marlins..they just got a brand new state of the art stadium that’s about 80% complete.

      • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

        Probably not. But I think if a contraction happens, and I seriously doubt it will, they’d still be on the short list of teams to lose. For the last 6 years straight the Marlins have been one of the bottom 3 teams in the league in attendance and they’re the only team in the league that’s able to claim that title. It’s highly doubtful a new stadium will change anything. Miami just doesn’t seem to attract the baseball crowds.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          florida in general doesn’t generate a steady fan base..

          The landscape of florida is probably to blame, largest percentage of seniors in the country & one of the largest percentage of families that live below the poverty line, both don’t make good for a fanbase.

  19. IndianaBob 4 years ago

    They should move to New York. It would help them and siphon some money out of the big market teams to even the playing fields for the other teams.

    • Seligs_Boi 4 years ago

      This is stupid.

    • mwagner26 4 years ago

      Are you suggesting that New York will have three baseball teams in the city? I don’t think that’s a good idea at all. Now, New Jersey? Sure. They can stay in the AL East, and they can get good attendance. Much better than Florida.

      NJ is close to NY, but for me and a lot of other people I know, it’s too much work to get into the city and see the Yankees or Mets. I wouldn’t have a problem attending every once in a while if a team was located in NJ. We have a good populous of people, so I think it’d work.

      Does New York need another baseball team? No. Having one in Jersey is close to NY, but far enough to “distinguish” itself. Hell, if it was the Rays, I’d root for them. Newark, although it has an independent league team in the Newark Bears, is still becoming a much cleaner city. That’s just one place you can go. Newark has a high population, and you’d draw in a lot more people from the surrounding places.

      That’s just my .02.

  20. kdawg89 4 years ago

    I say we move the Rays to L.A. and have them be the L.A. Rays and MLB take the Dodgers from the McCourt’s and move them back to Brooklyn!!! This is a joke people!!!..but it would be cool.

  21. Longo103 4 years ago

    I love the rays, their team is well run and find “another way” to win. With this years draft, their going to be loaded and ready for the future. If you’re a fan that’s attached to players this isn’t your “team”, remember its the front of the shirt that matters not the back…..

  22. chowdah219 4 years ago

    I live here about 15 minutes from cowbell hell (the trop) and I just dont understand how the rays cannot put at least 30,000 in the stands per game..when the playoff tickets went on sale, people paid at least double what the normal cost of regular season tix are and when they gave away 20,000 tix for their final home game last year the place was packed..Theres enough people within a 30-45 minute drive to pack the stadium and that have enough $$ to buy a $20 ticket..If anything I would relocate them as they have a great team that is well run..

  23. I’m guessing it won’t happen and Bud won’t let it happen because it would stall a given season. I hope next offseason they can think of ways during the bargaining agreement to bump attendance without negatively affecting anyone’s business.

  24. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    for the schfiftieth time, it doesn’t matter if an ownership group “has the money”. the question is whether or not their franchise has the revenue. expecting any business to operate at a loss is goofy

  25. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    ^my favorite part was when you appeared to segue into a conversation with yourself

  26. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    This is precisely why the Yankees are the richest team in baseball, and not Toronto or Minnesota.

  27. Whole_New_World 4 years ago

    just damn fun reading your posts nosureifsrs

  28. It’s true in a sense – Steinbrenner threw a lot of his money into his teams…and I think it worked out okay.

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