It'll be interesting to see how the Rays look to improve this winter given their limited financial flexibility, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays, who were last in the majors in attendance, will save more than $22.5MM with Carlos Peña, B.J. Upton, Luke Scott, and Kyle Farnsworth off the books. However, built-in and projected arbitration increases will cost them around $50MM to keep 17 players. After opening the season with a higher-than-planned $64MM payroll, the club is expected to try and scale back the payroll this year, leaving them with limited room. Here's more out of the AL East..
- Yankees President Randy Levine appeared on ESPN 98.7 FM's Sunday Morning with Ian O'Connor (partial transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com's Matt Ehalt) and did not commit to Alex Rodriguez remaining in pinstripes for the duration of his contract through the 2017 season. "That's like one of those questions: Where's the stock market going to be in 2017, who's going to be president on Nov. 15?" Levine said. "If I had crystal ball to predict all of that stuff, I'd be a lot smarter than I am. I'm not going to go there. That's stuff for people to speculate on your show and elsewhere, but it's irresponsible for me to do so."
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter says that he isn't ready to start thinking about a contract extension despite the fact that he enjoys being in Baltimore. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com wonders aloud if the skipper has his eye on becoming a General Manager somewhere. Showalter was interested in running the O's front office before Dan Duquette was brought in as executive vice president.
- The Yankees should have passed on giving Alex Rodriguez a ten-year, $275MM contract following the 2007 season, opines Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News. Lupica notes that the Cardinals made a shrewd business decision by letting Albert Pujols sign a $200MM+ contract elsewhere last winter and now find themselves in the championship hunt.
- With Curtis Granderson struggling, the trade that sent Austin Jackson to Detroit for him no longer seems like a smart move, writes Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Last year it seemed like both the Tigers and the Yanks came out as winners in that trade, but Madden believes that the W now goes squarely in the Tigers' column.
- The Orioles will likely be forced to make a decision between Nate McLouth and Nolan Reimold as to which ballplayer will be called upon to man left field next season, writes MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski. While Reimold got off to a strong start to the season before succumbing to injury, McLouth proved to be a valuable asset for Baltimore towards the end of the year and playoffs.
Edward Creech and Daniel Seco contributed to this post.