As a long time Devil Rays follower, it was a touch of happiness when Sternberg finally took over as owner from Vince "Do You know who I am" Naimoli. It was the Sternberg ownership group that was taking control. However, for those taking notice, the Sternberg family remains in New York. He made his money through investments. The kind that you buy things that are undervalued and sell them for a profit. He has the wonder twins who are baseball outsiders running the team. Basically, its the wiz kid premise that you can take a few smart people from Wall Street and add a baseball adviser (in Gerry Hunsicker), and rebuild the organization that has a tarnished image.
But, sometimes you have to remind the people who cover this for a living what is the plan here. Like the NY Daily News columnist Bill Madden who tried to sweep this blurb in today in his column:
Despite all the good will to the Tampa Bay community generated by Stuart Sternberg when he took over as Devil Rays owner from Vince Naimoli, it looks to be business as usual with MLB's perennially moribund franchise. The D-Ray payroll, which Sternberg promised to incrementally increase to a respectable (make that competitive) $75 million-$80 million in four years, instead has gone down for this coming year - to $24 million.
Now, one thing he left out is that a player and the organization have to mutually agree to a contract that benefits both parties. Given what we have seen organization like the Blue Jays spend unwisely the past year, does spending money guarantee success? Given the quality pitchers that has come available on the free market that could help this team, do you really see Barry Zito signing on to become part of the Devil Rays who are a work in progress? It remains to be seen once the franchise is further along in there plan, what free agents this franchise will attract. But, in year one the wonder twins did a good job in collecting talent for players that they were not going to keep around. In doing so, contracts like Toby Hall's and Aubrey Huff's and several others came off the books and reducing the payroll to a figure we see today. So, I have no problem with how the Rays have spent this off-season. Give this group a chance for their plan to get further along. When the time is right, I'll accept the criticism. Like next year at this time, is more appropriate. You'd think a local voice would get this.