Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg hoping fans respond to payroll boost

PORT CHARLOTTE — You have to give Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg some credit.

At a time when many teams aren't using any credit, or cash, and are cutting back or, at best, maintaining payroll, the Rays took another large step forward financially.

In two years they've gone from a $24 million opening day payroll to $43 million to what looks to be around $61 million, giving them the largest percentage increases in the game two straight years.

In a way, the bad economy worked to their advantage. With prices on players down and competition thinned, Sternberg and Co. saw the opportunity and took advantage. He'll take thank you's in the form of tickets purchased to see the team they've assembled.

"Clearly, we were able to do some things in the offseason that if it was a year ago or six months before, there was no possible way we'd see some of the players here that are here right now," he said during last week's camp visit.

"With Pat Burrell and augmenting the bullpen, we were able to do things that just weren't able to be done. As you know about me, I like to ying when other people are yanging a little bit. I think while it's going to be a difficult time throughout baseball and we have our challenges, I'm very excited in bringing a lot of value and having the fans realize that and support us."

And though he said they "can't really afford" what they have now and had lost the flexibility to make in-season additions, he left just enough wiggle room, too. He admitted they spent as much as they did because some of his "competitiveness" came out because he felt they "have a real opportunity to win."

If they're close come July, he'll probably get that feeling again.

MARQUEE ATTRACTION: Henry O!, a feature-length documentary that tells the always-amazing story of Enrique Oliu, the Rays' blind Spanish radio analyst, screened Saturday night as part of the Gasparilla Film Festival. For details on the film, visit hamzehmystiquefilms.com/henryo

RAYS RUMBLINGS: LHP J.P. Howell likes to keep things simple, so it was a bit of a challenge packing for the Team USA WBC trip that could last 3½ weeks and take him from Clearwater to Toronto to Miami to Los Angeles. "I'm going to be using the hotel laundry a lot." … Couldn't you feel the sincerity bleeding through in hearing that Curt Schilling would like to come back to help the Rays (or Lou Piniella's Cubs!) get over that last hurdle to a World Series title? … The Riverside County (Calif.) Sheriff's office has sought public help in trying to locate Troy Percival's customized red 1956 Ford F-100 pickup, valued at $100,000, that was stolen last month; Percival figures it was sold for parts. … Red Sox manager Terry Francona on the Rays to the Boston Globe: "They're not old. They're not going to forget how to play. They certainly make our life more difficult in the American League East."

fast facts

Projected roster

The first of our weekly guesses on the makeup of the 25-man opening day roster:

Pitchers (12): Grant Balfour, Matt Garza, Jason Hammel, J.P. Howell, x-Jason Isringhausen, Scott Kazmir, Jeff Niemann, Joe Nelson, James Shields, Brian Shouse, Andy Sonnanstine, Dan Wheeler

Catchers (2): Dioner Navarro, Shawn Riggans

Infielders (6): Willy Aybar, Jason Bartlett, Akinori Iwamura, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist

Outfielders (5): Pat Burrell, Carl Crawford, Gabe Gross, Gabe Kapler, Fernando Perez

Disabled list (2): RHP Troy Percival, CF B.J. Upton

x-would have to be added to 40-man roster

Marc Topkin,
Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg hoping fans respond to payroll boost 02/28/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 1, 2009 7:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.