Opening Day: Rays Do More with Less

Rays picked to be the 2014 World Champions by ESPN analyst Jayson Stark

Opening Day is finally here and during the offseason, we’ve seen teams like the Yankees and Red Sox spend loads of money to get their desired talent.

It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Rays are a bit revenue-challenged but when you look at the big picture, it’s about what you do with what you have. Money can only buy so much. This year, the Rays’ payroll is expected to be about $77 million. That is the highest it’s ever been for Tampa Bay.

While the Rays’ payroll is ranked 28th in the MLB, credit is still due to owner Stu Sternberg because of what he’s been able to do with his money. He re-signed James Loney and kept David DeJesus, he took on Ryan Hanigan for $10.75 million and one of the biggest deals made in the offseason was the signing of closer Grant Balfour. In addition to all of those, he kept David Price, despite the temptation to trade him.

Sternberg has truly done his best to keep the team intact while adding new talent to get to the top. The Rays currently have the lowest attendance rate in the MLB but the Rays’ staff has done a lot to revamp the fan experience at The Trop. More importantly, the team is so darn good this year, fans will want to watch.

Why are they the best in the AL East? David Price has a lot to do with it. Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Chris Archer, and Jake Odorizzi are also key players to aid in Tampa Bay’s success.

Pay no attention to last year. They may have finished 9th in the AL in runs in 2013 but now, it’s a whole new ball game. Wil Myers is expected to have a solid year and there are very high expectations surrounding Desmond Jennings, at center field.

Tampa Bay begins their 2014 journey today at 4:10 pm, when they face the Toronto Blue Jays.

For more on this story visit: Bill Madden, New York Daily News