East Notes: Braves, Rays, Berry, Red Sox

With an unfavorable TV deal, the Braves are becoming the Rays, SB Nation's Grant Brisbee argues. That's a bit hyperbolic, as Brisbee acknowledges, but the Braves' payroll has fallen from third in the big leagues in 2000 to 16th in 2013, because their payroll hasn't really risen since then, while it has for most other teams. That's a trend that could continue, unless the Braves' new stadium dramatically changes their fortunes. That means they have to rely more on making smart moves than on spending money. Here's more from around the East divisions.

  • James Loney says the Rays, Brewers, Pirates and Astros all made him similar offers, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune tweets. "I felt [Tampa Bay] was going to be the best option and this is where I wanted to be," Loney says.
  • If the Rays keep David Price in 2014, they will have a higher payroll than they had in 2010, when it was $72.8MM, Mooney reports. That's not a sustainable figure in the long term, Rays GM Andrew Friedman says, but the team has a chance to be "great" in 2014 (Twitter links).
  • The Orioles are still interested in re-signing Francisco Rodriguez, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. The Orioles could then use him as a backup plan at closer in case Tommy Hunter struggles. Fernando Rodney might cost too much for them, Kubatko suggests.
  • Orioles executive Dan Duquette says newly-acquired outfielder Quintin Berry is a strong defensive outfielder and "he's shown good on-base capability, particularly against RH pitching," Kubatko tweets.
  • It's not likely the Red Sox will sign or trade a starting pitcher before the beginning of spring training, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Boston currently has a solid set of starting pitching options in Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront, plus Brandon Workman, Allen Webster and others. Lauber's tweet suggests the Red Sox will not attempt to trade someone like Lackey, and they will not sign Masahiro Tanaka.

22 Responses to East Notes: Braves, Rays, Berry, Red Sox Leave a Reply

  1. erm016 2 years ago

    I think the new stadium will also help attendance in Atlanta. Time will tell.

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      It definitely will help with attendance, but enough so to outweigh bad contracts like BJ Upton and competing with other teams if the rumor is true when Heyward/Freeman hit FA? Probably not. It’s downright befuddling why we’re not seeing 1-2 names from The List extended.

      I’m alright with allowing Medlen, Simmons another season, but time is ticking on Heyward/Freeman/Minor. The longer they go the harder it’s going to be to extend them.

    • jasonhsv 2 years ago

      As long as Liberty Media owns the Braves, I don’t expect things to improve.

  2. chicothekid 2 years ago

    The St Pete Rays have a real racket going on right now. They just got an extra 25M a year in TV revenue and are already crying foul over spending it. Are people actually buying this? That’s 25M they’ve never had at their disposal, and now when they do, they don’t want to use it? Why is that again? Oh that’s right. Got to line those pockets and keep on lying to anyone paying attention.

    • Wek 2 years ago

      Dont forget the TV and merchandise revenue and luxury tax. And these don’t depend on the Rays’ attendance.

    • Steve 2 years ago

      If you were the owner why change? You are hauling in the money, have no pressure to spend, and put a good team on the field. Even if they had a payroll of 189 million a year fans still aren’t going

    • TheRealRyan 2 years ago

      The Rays are the lowest revenue team in MLB. Naturally that should equate to one of the lowest payrolls. They rank 30th of 30 teams in revenue, yet still have the 2nd most wins in MLB over the past 6 years and have made the playoffs 4 times. They have averaged over 91 wins a year, while playing in the toughest, highest spending division in baseball.

      Also, according to Forbes, the Cardinals, Reds, White Sox, Indians, Red Sox, Astros, Pirates, A’s, Nationals, Padres, Orioles and Cubs all had operating income at least twice as high as the Rays, while producing less wins. If you want to want to cry about a racket, you might want to start with just about any other ownership group in MLB. Unless of course you are upset that the Rays continue to make your favorite team look bad with a fraction of the revenue and payroll.

      • Ghost 2 years ago

        I’m sure they are not lining their pockets down there and the Rays certainly do more with less however as a Sox fan I will take the 3 WS since 2004 over any gloating about how another team averages 91 wins with less $.

  3. STLMang 2 years ago

    I love the Rays, and they are especially impressive because they have one of the lowest payrolls in the game. I think what they will do is hold off on trading Price until mid-season (unless they get a substantial offer sooner). This way they can wait to see how the year is going, and if they aren’t contending then look into shopping Price. I think the problem so far is they are expecting another Wil Myers deal, when most teams wouldn’t give up as much as the Royals did. Until they get a deal they perceive is outstanding, they will probably keep Price.

  4. TDKnies 2 years ago

    The Braves ownership also went from Ted Turner to Liberty Media, so that played a role as well. Regardless of the reasons though, it is a fact that their payroll probably won’t go much higher. Still nowhere near the handicap the Rays have though.

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      That’s not true. It’ll be eclipsing $100M this season, and that’s due in part because of the attendance increase in 2013, which Liberty has honored since they began owning the Braves. Sure, they’re not dumping money into the team like Turner did, but they’ve always said that they will keep the team’s budget in line with their attendance, and will continue to do so according to Braves CEO Terry McQuirk. Unfortunately, because the city of Atlanta loves to drag their feet – mainly because they were busy trying to approve the Falcons’ new $1.2B stadium – they weren’t able to get a new stadium in an ideal part of town to try and maximize attendance until 2017. It also doesn’t help that when Time Warner owned the Braves, they signed a pathetic deal that runs until 2023 that will net the team nothing in comparison to other deals, like what PHI just signed. The budget can go higher, but to do that, they’ll have to keep selling tickets.

  5. DerekJeterDan 2 years ago

    Just a thought, but maybe the Braves would have more to spend this Offseason, had they not overpaid BJ Upton 5 years 75 Million Dollars… And used that money elsewhere.

    Also, let’s not forget they gave Derek Lowe a 4 year 60 Million Dollar contract and were also pursuing AJ Burnett during that Offseason.

    They aren’t exactly pushovers financially. They are middle of the road with big splashes here and there and they build through trade. Teams could learn from them.

    • Ryan 2 years ago

      I think BJ Upton will be better and resemble more of the player he was with the Rays at least I’m hoping he resembles that player. I’m more worried about Dan Uggla whose done terrible the last two seasons

      • johnsilver 2 years ago

        BJ Upton was on a downward spiral since 2007. There was no indicator he was improving. He just continued the downward trend last year in year 1 of that terrible behemoth contract Atlanta gave him with 4 more seasons left. I don’t think his numbers can get any lower, there has to be a plateau he flattens at.

        The Upton contract was a classic case for not overpaying on hype and 5 tool ability when it’s never been proven on the field, or in his case? Ancient history, 2007, as in *1* season.

        Uggla draws walks and has massive power. He plays hard every game, doesn’t fail to run out grounders etc.. He’s got a chance to come back. I wouldn’t write him off quite yet.

        • TheRealRyan 2 years ago

          While 2007 was B.J.’s best season with the bat, I don’t see where you can say he was on a downward spiral. His wRC+ from 08-12 were 116, 85, 107, 113 and 108. His ISO was 128, 132, 187, 186 and 208. He was also an above average baserunner and played an adequate CF. He averaged 3.5 fWAR from 08-12 and from 10-12 his fWAR was 3.8, 3.8 and 3.1.

          He was entering his age 28 season and the Braves were paying for a 3-4 fWAR CF in his age 28-32 seasons, which are generally peak seasons. The Braves paid market value for a 28 yo, above average hitting CF entering his peak and were able to do it without having to buy up his decline years. He might have had an awful first season in Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad contract at the time.

          • Clayton Wilson 2 years ago

            But he didn’t run out a grounder several years ago and failed to be a super-star many expected. Therefore he is apparently useless as a big-league player….

    • Clayton Wilson 2 years ago

      Hindsight being what it is and all, you might be on to something. Nice find.

  6. alxn 2 years ago

    I sincerely hope whoever negotiated that TV contract is no longer with the organization. We’re talking about billions of dollars down the drain.

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      If referring to the Braves, that deal was done under the Time Warner regime when Turner’s assets were sold to Time Warner, before they sold to Liberty Media. As much as everyone wants to blame Liberty Media, they’re making the best out of the hand that’s been dealt.

  7. Sage 2 years ago

    James Loney says the Rays, Brewers, Pirates, and Astros all made him similar offers…

    Imagine my surprise when the Brewers were apparently willing to make him a three-year offer. I really thought we wouldn’t even approach that. Kinda speaks to our desperation for a first baseman. Interesting. (For the record, not a comment on Loney’s ability, rather, a comment on the Brewers’ willingness to spend)

  8. NYBravosFan10 2 years ago

    What is the main source of income for a sports team? Fan purchases such as tickets, food, souveniers…etc. I know this is a tired excuse but traveling to and from Turner Field is absolutely horrendous. Traffic is crazy in Atlanta and I can totally understand why fans wouldn’t make the attempt. Where the stadium is located is in a more suburban area on the corner of two major highways and on a map that showed the spread of the fanbase in and around atlanta, it’s smack in the middle of a huge braves fan area. Do i expect the Braves to sell out every game? No, that’d be silly. Atlanta sports fans are notorious for their lack of interest in attending pro sports games but I’d expect the attendance to go much higher than it is.

  9. DontForgetTheAlcohol 2 years ago

    I honestly think the Red Sox are just quietly posturing to make a big offer to Tanaka… But I’m also being hopeful

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