Yesterday, I posted about the Devil Rays increasing payroll by 20%. Today, more Tampa talk! Two Marc’s with a "C" have the scoop: Marc Lancaster and Marc Topkin both reported that lefty ace and ::ahem:: AL strikeout leader Scott Kazmir (or as the Mets refer to him: The One Who Got Away) has called upon management to bring in some veterans.
Despite the payroll increase, 20% of the Rays current payroll is only around $7MM before revenue sharing assistance. The Rays would like to re-sign Carlos Pena in arbitration and Boras wants a lot. Yet Kazmir is entering his first year of arbitration and won’t reach free agency until 2010. The Rays have until then to build a winning club around Kazmir. And if they do, would he want to stay?
Right now, his comments speak for themselves, "It’s tough being kind of the laughingstock of baseball right now. It really is."
I found this interesting because while I think Kazmir is right, it’s contrary to most of the comments MLBTR readers made yesterday. Most call for the Rays to trade Carl Crawford, etc, to re-stock young talent; however, you can never underestimate the value of veteran presence. With the way Mike Lowell took Dustin Pedroia under his wing this season, and how well that turned out, maybe the Devil Rays are a good fit for the veteran?
Yet to me, this all sounds like a good PR move. On the heels of Rays owner Peter Sternberg’s announcement of the payroll increase, a high profile player calls on management for help. Devil Rays are generating good buzz going into the offseason in an effort to boost their market value which is a natural first step toward competing against big market clubs.
As a side note, I got to stand just three feet behind Kazmir during a bullpen session a couple weeks ago and I can report that despite not being very large guy, his forearms arms were shockingly huge!
Posted by: Nat Boyle