Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekly In-Depth Look: Tampa Bay Rays (31-25)

After two weeks of examining teams that are currently in the rebuilding process, we finally take a look at a team that is experiencing success right now, the Tampa Bay Rays. With a team salary of $55,955,272, the Rays rank 28th in the league for total payroll, but rank just outside the top ten in winning percentage (11th). Even after trading away one of their top starting pitchers, James Shields, and one of their most efficient relievers, Wade Davis, the Rays have continued their recent success. Although they received several top prospects in return, including one of the top outfield prospects in the league, Wil Myers, the Rays' major league team still took a big hit that should have taken a toll on its winning percentage. Fortunately for the Rays, it did not, mainly due to their extreme pitching depth. In recent years, the Rays have been one of the best examples that a low team salary does not ensure a low winning percentage. Over the past five years, the Rays have made the playoffs three times, even making it to the World Series in 2008. Dealing with one of the bottom five lowest payrolls, they have competed with the rest of the league mainly by developing a young core of pitching, headed by 2012 Cy Young award winner David Price, along with the offense of their franchise third-basemen, Evan Longoria. The main problem the Rays have faced over the past few years is that they do not have the money to resign their all-star players, therefore they instead must trade them before they hit the free agent market, like what they will most likely do with David Price this year. By trading away their major league all-star talent in exchange for top minor league prospects, the Rays have developed one of the strongest farm systems in the league that will hopefully carry their franchise in the upcoming years.

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