Marc Lancaster has a lengthy piece up on owner Stuart Sternberg's pre-game comments that cover a ton of ground, some highlights:
"We set our benchmark this year and it was lower than when we had taken the team over initially, but we absolutely expect to increase payroll next year by 20 percent, maybe even a little bit more," said Sternberg. "That's what we're budgeting for, and a lot of it is going to be internal, to keep the guys that we have."
For those wondering, that would put payroll around 35 million next year...
Sternberg did say the Rays would like to sign Pena to a multi-year deal if common ground can be found with his agent, Scott Boras.
On the absence of Tampa Bay on the road uniforms:
Sternberg also addressed what seemed to be one of the top complaints from fans about the new uniform designs that leaked out last week--the apparent decision to remove "Tampa Bay" from the road uniforms. Sternberg noted that "Tampa Bay" isn't a city before mounting his defense of the move--which of course he would not officially confirm.
"We really have a new brand, and I don't want to say exactly what they're going to be looking like away or not and confirm whether it's Tampa Bay [on the road uniforms] or not, but we're going to be pushing a new name for the team and I think that's something we would like our fans to see at all chances we can get," he said. "So if in fact we've got the [nickname] on the away uniforms, that's really the concept behind it."
[editor's note, by R.J. Anderson]I'm disappointed with the projected payroll numbers, especially when you consider of that approximately seven million dollars we have to go to Arb with Wheeler, Pena, Kazmir, Gomes, Glover, and Balfour. Rough estimates but that could take around half of that money. Who knows, maybe the DRO is bluffing though.