Kaz: Rays need help
LHP Scott Kazmir said Friday the Rays need to add some veteran players to their young core if they want to compete in the rugged American League East, that he's tired of being part of what's "kind of the laughingstock of baseball" and suggested that the competitiveness of the team will play a large factor in whether he is willing to sign a long-term deal and remain part of that future.
"I’m interested to hear what they have to say;'' said Kazmir, who is property of the Rays for the next three seasons. "Let's see what happens.
"The thing is, we’ve got to show that we can win out there. That’s the first thing you want to do, you want to go out and be on a team that wants to be in contention and wants to win. It’s frustrating every year when you come to different parks and every one’s all over you because you’re last in the entire league every year. It’s tough being kind of the laughingstock of baseball right now. It really is. We’re better than what our record shows but we’re young, we’re still going through growing pains and everything. It’s tough, because we need some more help.’’
Kazmir is eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season and won't be a free agent until after the 2010 season. He has had some talks with the Rays about a long-term deal that that would "buy out" some of his initial free agency years and expects the talks to start up again after the season.
Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said Kazmir isn't the only one who wants to see the Rays get better, and that it will take the committment of the whole organization for it to happen.
”I think every one in this organization - I don’t think it’s exclusive to Kaz - wants to win and all of our focus is on building this organization to win the American League East and, more importantly, be able to sustain that success,'' Friedman said. "So I think all of us share in that exact same sentiment – I think everyone wants to involved with an organization that’s winning, and that’s from (principal owner Stuart Sternberg) all the way down.’’