Players to build franchise around

Dennis Maffezzoli covers the Rays for the Herald Tribune.  I recently had a chance to ask Dennis some questions about the Rays.

DRAYS BAY : When I was at a Spring Training game this month, the guy next to me mentioned 'we don't keep the players here long enough' , meaning that the organization can not afford to keep its star players around, is this true or false? What can they do to prevent this from happening?

Dennis Maffezzoli: The question remains, When does the future become the present? The Rays identified three players - Crawford, Baldelli and Upton - as players they want to build around. They tried to sign them to long-term contracts, buying out their arbitration years and a year or two of spring training. But the team is not making it worthwhile for the players to sign. They need to up the ante. Agents see arbitration as a way to make up some of the money lost during the first three years and a stepping stone to a big payoff come free agency. Chuck said before the season there will be more multi-year contracts handed out in the next couple of years, both with the home-grown players and free agents. We'll see.

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.