Maybe the players union should subsidize the Rays.
Each of the Rays’ two postseason appearances prompted a spasm of spending by an AL East rival that missed the playoffs.
In 2008, the Yankees signed first baseman Mark Teixeira, left-hander CC Sabathia and righty A.J. Burnett for a combined $423.5 million.
In ’10, the Red Sox have reached agreements with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and left fielder Carl Crawford on deals worth around $300 million.
The Rays, then, are the union’s best friend, forcing the Yankees and Red Sox to jump despite their low revenues and low payroll.
A shrewd front office helped the Rays reach the World Series in ’08 and win their second AL East title in three years in ’10.
Alas, the team is now coming apart, losing Crawford to the Red Sox and first baseman Carlos Pena to the Cubs, with closer Rafael Soriano and others to follow in free agency.
Time for the union to prop up the Rays, as unconventional a labor strategy as that might be.
No team drives the market quite like Tampa Bay.
- Ken Rosenthal