Monday, August 17, 2009

Why The Rays Can Do This Long-Term

Being an armchair general manager is a lot of fun. As a fan, it is very easy to say "we should sell the farm to win now." While in a pennant race, prospects are thought of as trading tools and not future stars.

If you are a fan of a big market franchise, you can afford to live by that philosophy. The Rays' front office is smarter than that, and that is why the Rays will contend for a playoff position for years to come.

Example A: The Rays do not trade Jeff Niemman in a deal for Jason Bay. The Rays make the world series in 2008. The next season, Jeff Niemman leads the team in wins in the middle of August.

Example B: The Rays do not sell the farm for Victor Martinez. Instead, the Rays get a post-deadline deal for Greg Zaun. Zaun and Martinez have comparable stats for their new teams, but Zaun has played in about half the games. Now we can wait and see what Wade Davis will turn into as a Ray.

Finding lower-cost and higher-efficiency trades is the reason the Rays can afford to contend for years to come. The Rays are proving this with smart deals for the second straight season. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.


  1. THis is a great point, and a much-needed optimistic view.

    What I'm afraid of, though, is the fate of always having prospects but not having enough mature talent to take us back to the playoffs in a division where both the Sox and the Yankees have virtually unlimited potential to rent firepower whenever they wish.

    Sure, we slid by them both last year, but the Yankees had an atypical - some would say historical - collapse. We can't count on that happening very often. We're going to have to bring 95+ wins a season if we want to truly "contend" every year against two of the toughest teams in all of baseball.

  2. This team isn't just rookies and prospects turned pro. The Rays are attempting to fill in the holes with valuable talent. I'm not talking about huge multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts, but shorter smaller contracts with players who will fight to earn every dollar.

    Yes, the Yankees and Sox can rent firepower where needed, but that doesn't necessarily guarentee success, and doesn't set the team up for the long run. Too many short term solutions can cost you in the long run.