John Romano: Money talks for the Yankees. It whispers for the Rays.
Published in Baseball
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Outside of Tampa Bay, the money flows freely.
Some might say recklessly; others would argue gloriously. Whichever side of baseball’s economic fence you land on, there is little doubt that the divide continues to grow wider.
The top 10 spenders in the majors shelled out a little more than $3 billion for free agents this offseason, while the other 20 teams combined for less than $700 million. That works out to about $300 million each for the big shots, and $35 million per team for everyone else.
So what’s a low-revenue team to do?
If you’re the Rays, try staying one step ahead.
Tampa Bay has gone on a spending spree of its own in the past week, although that’s a relative term. Yandy Diaz, Jeffrey Springs and Pete Fairbanks have all signed multi-year deals in recent days, and that’s on top of previous contracts given to Tyler Glasnow, Manuel Margot, Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco.
If you don’t count players who will have contracts renewed in the coming weeks, the Rays actually have more money committed to the 2024 roster than the current team because of all the multi-year deals.
Is this a change in philosophy? Not really; current ownership has been doing this since signing Evan Longoria to a nine-year deal during his first month in the big leagues in 2008.
The difference is the current roster is top heavy with players entering their arbitration years, and the Rays are being aggressive when it comes to locking down salaries before the marketplace gets even more expensive.
Essentially, the Rays are offering players guaranteed income in the short term in exchange for buying out a free-agent season or two.
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