Tampa Bay Rays future

Can the Rays assemble a young team to compete with juggernaut Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East?

1Brent+Honeywell+will+be+a+strong+addition+to+the+Rays+rotation+once+he+recovers+from+Tommy+John+surgery.
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Tampa Bay Rays future

1Brent Honeywell will be a strong addition to the Rays rotation once he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

1Brent Honeywell will be a strong addition to the Rays rotation once he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

1Brent Honeywell will be a strong addition to the Rays rotation once he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

1Brent Honeywell will be a strong addition to the Rays rotation once he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Cory Fakterowitz, Staff Writer

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The Tampa Bay Rays future has a lot of speculation about if the Rays will leave Tampa Bay for a new fanbase and market or if they will build the newly proposed stadium costing a whopping 892 million in Ybor City. Also, if any of this were to happen…when? This tends to take away from the fact that while the team they are currently putting on the field is not amazing, the Rays have swiftly and over time built the frame to having a successful team in the near future. The Rays are not the first to do this as it can be seen in teams like the Houston Astros who suffered brutal seasons of 100+ losses were able to slowly build a team that eventually led to them winning the World Series just last year.

The first thing to look at would be that currently the Rays’ payroll is at $70,973,984 which is considerably small compared to the Boston Red Sox’s payroll of $227,835,760. When you first look at that, it’s hard to see how a team with so little money can compete with one of the richest teams in baseball. But what the Rays do as a small market team is sign efficient players who can produce similar results to the top-paid players and most importantly the number of prospects who are signed at low cost for at least a few years. Another big thing is that of the roughly $71 million the Rays spend, $39 million is in retained salary, meaning that they no longer are on the Rays. Lastly for financial statistics, the active payroll of the team is currently just $23 of the $71 million. This means at the season’s end there will be a lot more money available to spend to maybe bring in a superstar or some veteran players to teach the young guys.

The most important part of the equation to this team’s success in the future is of course the prospects. Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, and Christian Arroyo are the first of many to be called up to the big leagues from our farm system, but many are to come. As of August 7, according to Neil Solondz, the Rays pre/post game show host, all seven Rays minor league affiliates in the United States were in first place or had clinched a playoff spot. Six of these prospects are considered of the top 100 prospects ranking 29, 31, 40, 66, 95 respectfully (Brendan McKay counts twice due to the fact he is a hitter and pitcher). A big part of that future is pitching, which as of late has been weird due to a lack of healthy starting pitchers, causing us to have to rely on our bullpen. While we have prospect talent through the roof that is ready to compete at major league level, right now they are all hurt for the most part. Our starting pitching is highlighted by newfound ace Blake Snell, who at only age 25 has turned into one of the best aces in the league. With pitchers Brent Honeywell, Brendan McKay, this year’s first round draft pick Matthew Liberatore and newly acquired Tyler Glasnow, the Rays are in a good position for their potential starting rotation in the years to come. On the offensive end, Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, and Christian Arroyo have all made it up to the big leagues and have flashed bright spots for the future. Austin Meadows, who was just acquired in the same deal as Glasnow, has yet to been called up but is a solid outfielder who can really slug the ball. Outfielder Jesus Sanchez, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic, can be a great power hitter and is projected to be an above average centerfield. To fill out the outfield, although not a prospect Kevin Kiermaier can provide a spark with his great running catches and his hustle on every play.

Overall, it’s hard for Rays fans to not be excited as through a long process of heartbreaking trades and long, mediocre seasons they are be able to look forward to a new fresh start with a brand new young team full of potential. Oh, and a new stadium would be nice too.

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