Joe Maddon and Stuart Sternberg

The Tampa Bay Rays opened the 2014 season with a payroll of $82.1 million, the largest in franchise history. But according to Stuart Sternberg, that was an “enormous aberration” and won’t happen again next season.

I haven’t done the math yet, but keeping the payroll lower next year will be considerably easier without David Price, who made $14 million this season. There is also the strong possibility that Ben Zobrist will be traded, a player who made $7 million this season.

Take those two players off this year’s team and the payroll is closer to $60 million, something Sternberg can probably live with.

However, there are two key players, Alex Cobb and Desmond Jennings, who will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and in line for big raises.

What that means is that while the Rays won’t have much trouble cutting the payroll, they will have trouble adding players that make much more than the league minimum.

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10 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Stew please sell the team so we can get a real owner !

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  2. Bob says:

    If they(un)build it, they will (not)come.

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  3. JT says:

    Cutting payroll isnt automaticaly a bad thing but lets be honest. Unless Tampa or St.pete magicaly make a stadium appear were at a HUGE risk of the team leaving. I love the Rays with all my heart but seriously. You think Stu likes playing small ball every year.

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  4. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    He needs to stop rubbing it in the faces of the fans that he's pinching pennies.

    We understand the predicament that they're in, therefore there is no reason whatsoever to come out every flipping' year and tell us (the fans) that they're gonna pocket a bunch of money instead of reinvesting it in the team... it's infuriating.

    Most ardent fans understand that that is what's happening, but others just see it as ownership picking $ over success (which at its basest form is actually the case).

    Stu, do what you've gotta do, but don't make a big thing out of it every year. sheesh.

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  5. edward says:

    every year we hear the same thing, anybody really thinks that this team isn't making money. I don't have a problem with them making more just stop crying poor mouth, every time we hear the front office or stew it's the same thing, if you can't afford the team than sell it, and i actually like this ownership. But the crying has got to stop alright nobody goes to the games, than get something done with st pete, all i hear is crickets about what is going on between the new mayor and the team, i don't know who is to blame, but somebody has to step it up.

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  6. Rob says:

    This doesn't bother me because every time they spend money (2009 + 2014), they have a crappy year and every time they say they will cut payroll the next year, they seem to overachieve.

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  7. OriginalTom says:

    It is going to be tough to cut payroll According to Cot's contracts they have 52.75M tied up with 11 players for 2015. Additionally, besides Cobb and Jennings, they also have McGee, Joyce, Hellickson, Sean Rod, and Smyly Arbitration eligible.

    Of course it seems the Rays have made noise about cutting payroll in the past and have not followed through. The only year they have cut payroll since 2008 was in 2011 when they let CC and Soriano walk.

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  8. Woodrow744 says:

    And Mr. Sternberg concluded " Hell, we're going to have to trim our promotions at the Trop next year as well. That 'Spot the Cow' promotion from Chick-fil-A? Costing me a damn fortune. Next year, we'll have those fans try and zoom in on a particular sunflower seed spat out by Wil Myers. I'm willing to bet that will save us some serious coin. And that Carvel cap promotion….you know where they spin around and one has a prize under it? Next year…..no prize!!! Did I mention that we're taking down the lights? That right there pays for Balfour AND Molina." As he settled into the seat of his private helicopter, Mr. Sternberg offered one more thought, "I didn't go to Harvard Business School to LOSE money, suckers!"

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  9. mp645 says:

    Stu practices MN Twins type baseball of the "70's. Old Cal Griffith only had green rookies, old vet players over 38 yrs old, players off the waiver hotline and Harmon Killabrew as the "star". Does this pattern look familiar? Looks like the Rays doesn't it! Twins were and are perpetual losers except '87 and '91. The minute they won the World Series, the better players has gotten new contracts and left.

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