Hey, Baseball's here!

The first "Play Ball", the first crack of the bat and the first syringe thrown on the field have all arrived, which means it's time to turn our attention (to steal a phrase from Grits) to the local baseball collective.

In case you haven't noticed yet, the DRays have hung up a "Under New Management" sign outside their home offices to go with their (modest) spending spree which has been mainly directed at keeping around young talent. The new management in St. Pete is part of a new wave of Wall Street trained investors who pay more attention to the bottom line than a sinking pitch. From a New York Times piece on the DRays...

"Applying that notion to baseball allows Mr. Friedman to attach a market value of perhaps $7 million to Scott Kazmir, the team's star pitcher, who is actually on his payroll for $370,000 a year. Luckily for them, most of the players on the team are contract-bound to salaries lower than what they might command on the open market. The bottom line is this: Mr. Friedman reckons that the real value of the Devil Rays' payroll is closer to $50 million."

The article also mentions how the DRays traded all star closer Danny Baez for two untested pitchers from the Dodgers.

Fact is, if the DRays are going to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox while on a $35 million pay roll Tampa Bay needs to get the most bang for their buck. This means they have to take a much riskier approach than well established franchises such as Atlanta or Chicago.

Or, to compare apples to oranges, the DRays have to take a similar approach to what the Bucs have done in the past two offseasons. Buy low on guys like Chris Hovan or Toniu Fonoti and hope they pan out better than could have reasonably been expected. Assuming the DRays are able to resign key players this strategy has the best chance of putting them (don't laugh) into position to get into the playoffs.

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