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Rays Payroll could exceed $70 million in 2015

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Our preview for the Winter Meetings will kick off later this morning, but an important bit of news is worth mentioning up front. Owner Stu Sternberg has finally broken his silence on the Rays payroll, which has lasted since last September when he promised the Rays would slash payroll from last year's record $80 million.

Speaking with Marc Topkin, both Sternberg said there is not a specific number and that "there are no hard and fast rules," reiterating there have been previous seasons where the Rays exceeded their expected totals (2009, 2014) if they believed that cultivated the best roster.

New GM Matt Silverman followed by establishing the Rays propriety will be on the balance between having money for the future, and fielding a competitive roster today. In other words, business as usual:

"We're always trying to solve for talent and make sure we have the requisite talent within the major-league club and knocking on the doorstep in case there is a need," Silverman said. "If that club costs $70 million then it does, and if it costs $50 million all the better because it provides more power whether that's for in-season or for future seasons."

Current commitments to the Rays roster exceed $76 million, which could indicate a drastic restructuring of the roster is still on the way, but now those expectations can at least be tempered. It might not be $80 million again this season, but it could be slightly less if that's the best product.