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In response to Bill Madden

From David's post a few days ago you'll remember the NY Daily News writer taking a shot at the Rays and their payroll...well I took matters into my own hands and sent him an e-mail.

My original e-mail to Mr. Madden:

I just wanted to say you're view of the Rays and their payroll situation is very unfair and oblivious to the fact that the Rays' managment has been able to re-sign young stars like Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli to extensions while front loading them as team friendly deals. I myself am I write for D-Rays Bay, one of, if not the top D-Rays blog on the internet, feel free to check out this post I made just about a week ago concerning the payroll and check the figures at the following link for the scope on how the team structured the youngsters' deals.

His reply:

Just wondering then, what are the odds of Crawford remaining a DRay through the rest of that contract? So far new ownership hasn't shown us anything new other than the free parking.

My last reply:

Andrew Friedman, the Rays 'General Manager' (we don't officialy have a G.M. by name, but he's in charge of most of the personnel movements) has assured the Tampa media and fans that Carl Crawford is 'untouchable', the management has also began to talk extension with Scott Kazmir. Also Stuart Sternberg never said the payroll would raise to 75-80 million, but rather comments were passingly made about the payroll increasing over time, though he never menitoned an exact figure. The team has said multiple times their plan this off-season was to only sign players who would help the team next year and in years following amongst specific items like improve the infield defense (Complete by the signing of Akinori Iwamura and the addition of Brendan Harris via trade.)

As far as your second comment, I can understand this point of view from a non-Rays fan perspective, however you must understand a few things concerning last season. More or less it was a transition year, players with decreasing value (see Aubrey Huff), expiring contracts at positions we had youth available at (remember we have guys like Reid Brignac at SS, Evan Longoria joined us in June and really broke onto the scene as a 3B / 2B, ect.) who would serve the team better if they didn't have ' Second Half Huff' blocking their way. Basically we traded for prospects last year to improve our system (now #1 by many including Jim Callis and John Sickels) and gave us future trading pieces (I know NYers don't wanna hear this, and it sounds outrageous, but perhaps it's the D-Rays who can make a run at Johan in 2009 at the deadline if the Twins can't afford him, we'll have at least three young, high potential arms in their low 20's who we can chip off.)

As far as this off-season nothing big other than Aki, but we'll be much improved. Remember a few things:

  1. Most of last year Damon Hollins / Greg Norton / Russ Branyan  were our RF, if you don't think Delmon won't outproduce them than your crazy.
  2. Our team added the former Astros pitching coach Jim Hickey to the fold, and promoted 'Rays minor league pitching guru' Xaiver Hernandez and the entire Southern League champion (AA) staff to AAA, where they will work with a loaded rotation.
  3. We have pitching in the AAA I mentioned that staff: Jason Hammel, J.P. Howell, Jeff Niemann, Mitch Talbot, and Andrew Sonnanstine. We have ANOTHER wave of studs coming through with Jake McGee, Wade Davis, and Matt Walker.  After that we have Tyree Hayes, Jeremy Hellickson, and Alex Cobb. Basically we have enough arms that if more than half don't work out we'll still be in good shape.
Again addressing the payroll issue, publications have bashed the Rays low amount, however any person with baseball knowledge would know having Rocco and C.C. for less than 5 million next combined is amazing, considering that in three seasons, CC, Rocc, and Aki ALONE will be making in the 22 million range. This owner and management has told everyone from day one they will not make a signing just to make a signing, nor will the process from cellar dweller to champion be a fast one, but by 2009 it's easy to see the Rays not only contending, but surpassing the aging / overspending Yankees (when George goes, the payroll will be slashed outragously, no?) and Sox.

Thank you for the reply and hopefully I didn't waste your time.