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Thread: The future of the Rays

  1. #1
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    The future of the Rays

    They are the Cinderella team du jour going against the Red Sox and their Nation. They're doing most of it with kids and a very modest payroll. My question is, can they keep it up?

    They don't have the big TV deal their closest competitiors (Sox & Yankees) do. They drew 1.8M this year, which is good compared to past seasons but they are going to have to draw a lot better than that to keep up. They do have guys like Shields and Longoria signed into the next decade but they are eventually have to find the money to pay them. They have a lot of kids but that means that they are all going to be arbitration eligible around the same time. Plus how are you going to keep them on the farm after they have seen Paree? Their kids are getting their first tast of national exposure. National TV, sellout crowds, national media, etc. They are going to be thinking about that when they are playing in front of 15K in July. When it comes time for their contracts to be up, that's going to go through their minds.
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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    they have boatloads of talent in the pipeline. They should do more than keep it up, they should continue to get better. They are rich in both arms and position players.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    Their best player, who should be a perennial MVP candidate, is under the following contract:

    08:$0.5M
    09:$0.55M
    10:$0.95M
    11:$2M (arb year 1)
    12:$4.5M (arb year 2)
    13:$6M (arb year 3)
    14:$7.5M club option ($3M buyout)
    15:$11M club option
    16:$11.5M club option

    It's easily the best contract in baseball. When you have your best player under contract for the next 8 years at something like 50% of market value, it puts you in really good shape.

    And considering they have the best pitching prospect in the minors ready to go in the rotation next year, I'd say they're going to be good for awhile.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  5. #4
    "So Fla Red"
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    Rays fanbase is much more conducive for baseball and supporting the local team then the Marlins (even though Tampa is about 1/2 the Miami metro market unless you add Orlando). The Miami Market just doesn't work with the demographics in its home area.

    I predict the Rays draw 2.3M or higher at the gate next season. The Marlins will be lucky to get 1.5M.

  6. #5
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    One player doesn't make a team. IMO the Rays have the ability to stay competitive for a 2-5 year window but the outside stresses will make it more difficult. Florida is an awful baseball state and Tampa is a horriable market. Add to the fact that their outside revenues won't be a strong as the teams in their league. Their TV and Radio contracts will be minescule compared to that of the Sox and Yankees. They have shown the inability to draw well during the regular season.

    Right now the Rays are a cheep and talented club. But every additional year the team gets more expensive to keep its key players. If you look at 2010 Crawford, Pena, and Kazmir will make ~ $30M between the three of them. Will the Tampa market be able to support a team that will become expensive? Will Tampa be able to increase its TV and Radio revenue?

    I see Tampa having to make some tough decisions in the near future. I think they are looking similar to what the Twins did 3-4 years ago. You had Mauer, Morneau, Santana, Hunter, etc. They had a great core of young players that got expensive real quick and they had to make some tough decisions. Tampa must stay ahead of the ball and operate like the Indians in the mid to late 90's to stay successful over an extended period of time.

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    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    If they're going to continue to find success, they're going to have to do it the way the Marlins have. Great success, tear it down, start over. They can't afford to keep the same player's for any reasonable length of time, especially in that division. It's sad, but it's the truth.

  8. #7
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    I see the Rays being similar to the Braves in 1991. The big difference is that the Braves had a sweetheart TV deal and a corporation behind them. The Rays have to get people to their games. They can't depend on TV and radio revenue because it's not going to amount to a drop in the bucket compared to their main rivals. That's why St. Louis can have a big payroll. They get 3M to their games. They don't have a big radio and TV deal. They have also been at it a lot longer than the Rays. What happens if a guy like Longoria gets hurt and they slump? Are the fans still going to come to the games to support them?

    Don't discount the agent factor either. Some of those guys may get a hankering for the bright lights and the big city. Their agent tells them to make themselves a big PITA so they can be traded to somewhere where they can make a lot more money. If the Rays can churn out replacements for these guys, that's great. But as we all know, being a prospect doesn't guarantee big league success.

    I'm rooting for them but it's going to be an uphill climb for them.
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    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    Quote Originally Posted by cincrazy View Post
    If they're going to continue to find success, they're going to have to do it the way the Marlins have. Great success, tear it down, start over. They can't afford to keep the same player's for any reasonable length of time, especially in that division. It's sad, but it's the truth.
    Then they may as well fold the franchise. The Marlins method is the one to copy only if your goal is, "how to build a team that wins two World Series and no one's left to care that you did."

    The Tampa market hasn't been a good baseball market but there's been no reason up to now that it should have been. The team's been terrible, the park's lousy, it's on the wrong side of the bridge. But it's no more hopeless than Seattle was or Cleveland was, two other formerly hapless markets. It'll take some winning to build a fan base. They have a new stadium in the works. If they're still averaging 1.8 million with a crappy TV deal three years from now, then yeah, they have problems.
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  10. #9
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    The Marlins really screwed up when they dismantled their first WS team.
    One writer speculated that they would've drawn 3 million fans if they didn't have a firesale right after the WS. They got boatloads of season ticket fans mad, who demanded refunds.

    If the Marlins hadn't tore their team down, but instead continued to at least try to contend, the writer estimated the team would've been profitable in 98, even without any salary dumps.

    So, the Marlins shot themselves in the foot, and hacked off a bunch of their fan base. All the new stadium fighting probably didn't help either.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

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  11. #10
    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    Then they may as well fold the franchise. The Marlins method is the one to copy only if your goal is, "how to build a team that wins two World Series and no one's left to care that you did."

    The Tampa market hasn't been a good baseball market but there's been no reason up to now that it should have been. The team's been terrible, the park's lousy, it's on the wrong side of the bridge. But it's no more hopeless than Seattle was or Cleveland was, two other formerly hapless markets. It'll take some winning to build a fan base. They have a new stadium in the works. If they're still averaging 1.8 million with a crappy TV deal three years from now, then yeah, they have problems.
    The Red Sox and the Yankees have unlimited resources. The Rays do not. I'm not saying they should fold up the franchise and not try, but the fact of the matter is, they have almost zero margin for error. They will be good for a few years, but I don't think they'll build a baseball juggernaut, either.

  12. #11
    SERP deep cover ops WebScorpion's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    I don't see why they can't have sustained success. They just need to continue to do the things that got them where they are. Excellent talent evaluation across the board is their hallmark. They make great draft choices and they always get talent in return on their trades. Sure, they're going to have to make tough decisions about who to keep and who to trade in the future, but the key is to use those losses to replenish the pipeline by getting talent in return. It's been known for years that a championship season doesn't bump up your numbers at the gate much until the season AFTER the championship/playoff appearance. As long as they continue to be competitive next year (no Marlins-style firesale) I think they can add close to another million to their gate receipts. I have no idea what kind of media deal they could work out, but if they go all the way the odds are better that they can get something out of it. In the end it all comes down to the guys on the field, and this young group seems to be super talented AND having the time of their lives. Frankly, I'm just as sick of the Sawx as I am of the Yankees, so I'd LOVE to see this group of kids knock them off their little pedestal...and then keep them off it. If they manage to increase their incoming cashflow and continue to make great talent evaluations, I don't see why they couldn't be successful for the next 5-10 years.

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  13. #12
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    Quote Originally Posted by WebScorpion View Post
    I don't see why they can't have sustained success. They just need to continue to do the things that got them where they are. Excellent talent evaluation across the board is their hallmark. They make great draft choices and they always get talent in return on their trades. Sure, they're going to have to make tough decisions about who to keep and who to trade in the future, but the key is to use those losses to replenish the pipeline by getting talent in return. It's been known for years that a championship season doesn't bump up your numbers at the gate much until the season AFTER the championship/playoff appearance. As long as they continue to be competitive next year (no Marlins-style firesale) I think they can add close to another million to their gate receipts. I have no idea what kind of media deal they could work out, but if they go all the way the odds are better that they can get something out of it. In the end it all comes down to the guys on the field, and this young group seems to be super talented AND having the time of their lives. Frankly, I'm just as sick of the Sawx as I am of the Yankees, so I'd LOVE to see this group of kids knock them off their little pedestal...and then keep them off it. If they manage to increase their incoming cashflow and continue to make great talent evaluations, I don't see why they couldn't be successful for the next 5-10 years.
    Making sound draft picks are a whole lot easier when you are consistently drafting in the top 5. It will become more difficult when you begin drafting in the 20's and late 20's.

  14. #13
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Making sound draft picks are a whole lot easier when you are consistently drafting in the top 5. It will become more difficult when you begin drafting in the 20's and late 20's.
    Exactly what I thought, too. After you get out of the top 5 or 6 players, it gets harder to tell who is real, and the upside is usually not the same level, either. They've done a great job drafting, though, and not just the top pick, so they may be able to keep that up but they won't be gettin the Longoria types either in all likelihood.

    Right now the Rays are young and really hungry. Once they've been winning a while, and the fun starts to become just a job (and that does happen)will they become efficiently machine-like or start to pull apart? Once Longoria's stablemates get to their arb years will they be able to pick and choose correctly because that's the crux. Pick the right ones to keep and pay and the right ones to let go while grooming replacements.

    I don't really see a reason why they shouldn't be good for quite a while, though, barring a series of major mistakes. Their farm is still deep with talent so they should be able to pick replacements for guys who become too expensive through at least one "cycle" of the arb clock. That, with their overall youth now, should stand them in pretty good stead for the next 5 or 6 years at least.

  15. #14
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Making sound draft picks are a whole lot easier when you are consistently drafting in the top 5. It will become more difficult when you begin drafting in the 20's and late 20's.
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  16. #15
    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: The future of the Rays

    The thing that kind of scares me is they've had a lot of career years from guys in their bullpen. Grant Balfour has been lights out, J.P. Howell, etc. If some of those guys regress to form next season, they could be in some trouble. I like them a ton, they just have literally zero margin for error. If one of their key guys goes down next June with a devastating injury, they probably can't go shopping for a heavy lifter like the Yanks or Sox. If some of the guys that had career years in the bullpen go south next year, it won't be as easy for them to find reinforcements. It's a slippery slope they're on. I do expect them to be good for quite a while, but things can change in a hurry.


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