It was quite apparent going onto the 2005 season the Devil Rays had virtually no chance at competing for the divison crown. The Yankees and the Red Sox at the time were at a level from a payroll and as an organization perspective that far exceeded what the Devil Rays were bringing to the table.
As we enter the second half of this decade it is my assertion that these once dominate teams will struggle to keep the thing going. If they realize their now and start looking to the future, they might be in a better position as the next few years roll on. Be very very quiet about this...
But, the main competition facing the Devil Rays in my opinion will we the Blue Jays. I give the Blue Jays a chance because they are committed to spending some money over the next few years. They basically have a few years jump start on what the Rays are beginning to do.
Not only that, It has been reported that Jays have an offer on the table to pair AJ Burnett with the ever awesome Roy Hallday. For those who are down on Burnett, I still view him as a quality top of the rotation pitcher even after being a few years removed from arm surgery. The thing is that he has 3-4 good years left in the tank. By giving him five years, I say that is too long. But, the market is going to give him the extra year in a weak free agent class. I abide by the Frank Cashen rule of pitchers that you never give a starter a contract longer than three years. So, in this instance if the Jays sign him, its going to hurt them in the long term. What can the Rays do to compete with Jays. First, keep doing what they have been doing past month. Make smart thorough decisions with the long term view in mind.