Drew Smyly (pictured above) qualified for Super 2 arbitration status, and is expected to receive a projected $3MM. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Griffith/USA Today Sports)
Drew Smyly (pictured above) qualifies for Super 2 arbitration status, and is expected to receive a projected $3MM. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Griffith/USA Today Sports)

With the recent news that the stadium stalemate may finally be coming to a conclusion, Baseball is Good Business delved into three of the most popular myths about the Rays and Tampa Bay. Though a few points could be debated — they acknowledge as much below — kudos to Baseball is Good Business for putting something out there for you, dear readers, to ponder.

Tampa Bay can’t sustain a MLB team?

If the Rays weren’t winning so much, we probably wouldn’t be having this issue. It took the Yankees 21 years to get to the World Series, we did it in 10.

Historically, most teams have horrible numbers in their beginning years. Fact is, we aren’t doing bad for a team that’s been here for only 16 seasons. (our television numbers are tops in the league!)

When you talk to the larger attendance area fans, after all the rhetoric, most will admit the same thing…

My dad was a Yankee Fan.
My dad was a Sox fan
My grandfather was a Dodger fan.

There is NO grandfather, father and son sitting in a row at the Trop rooting for the team that they grew up with. That’s called “Generational Fan Base”. If our neighbors don’t wake up, we may never get that chance.

The team is moving to Tampa?

Although possible, not likely. If the Rays are not sure about the area, that includes Tampa also. The price that the Rays would have to pay in penalties and attorney’s fees would make them at least consider several “plug and play” options. The demographics are no secret for top areas with built in fan base. Just visit the US Census Bureau.

Don’t think other cities are looking? See for yourself . . .

Which name do you like better? If you owned the Rays had just got out of a long dogfight with an area, you may prefer any of them.

Mexico City Rays
Montreal Rays
Indianapolis Rays
Charlotte Rays
Brooklyn Rays

Those markets and their fans would fall over backwards to get the billion dollars revenue that a MLB team could bring. Most of them have a plan with money set aside.

And don’t kid yourself, MLB isn’t going to expand to 10 cities in the next 20 years. May not expand to ANY. The easiest way to get a team is to lure one using HUGE incentives for the team ownership. Remember, one of the main reasons that we have baseball today is because WE were prospecting teams with a new stadium. What do you think these cities are going to offer the Rays? Because we are doing so well as a team, stockbrokers would say that we are “ripe” for a takeover. If the Rays determine that the area won’t support the team, it will be too late to change their minds. You’ll know when you see the moving trucks.

Rays can’t leave the area because of their contract?

That’s what Montreal, Washington D.C. and Brooklyn thought. If we continue to fight among ourselves and not improve attendance, we are playing with fire.

Does the truth hurt? It’s has to be better than the lies, lack of knowledge, rumor and innuendo.

There is good news. We have an awesome team. Let’s face it, we can all agree that the Rays have done their part. The recent renovations are a tremendous investment that the Rays made for the fans. So let’s stop bickering over where the team is going to play and start making lemonade. LET’S NOT FIGHT EACH OTHER! Leave that up to the dopey media in other cities. Lastly, the Rays don’t want to leave. But they are entitled to prosper just like any other business in this great country of ours.

You don’t have to agree with what we share. One thing We know is that WE all have one thing in common. WE love our team. There are things WE can do and WE need to do them now! At BaseballisGoodBusiness.org, WE have a specific plan and WE’RE not going to keep it a secret. The leaders in this group are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that our team is here for our children and their children and grandchildren. WE believe that as a group, WE cannot lose. Please join us.

Moving forward.

Per Marc Topkin, Drew Smyly qualified for Super 2 arbitration status (with 25 others in MLB), and projects to get around $3MM. This news, however, does not push ahead the need to trade Jeremy Hellickson — Smyly’s Super 2 status was no surprise, therefore it shouldn’t make any difference.

The Rays interviewed Indians bench coach Kevin Cash Wednesday for the managerial position. Cash is a Tampa native who played briefly for the Rays. He was also a finalist for the Texas Rangers job. Left to be interviewed for are Barry Larkin and Doug Glanville.

Major League Baseball salary commitments by team. (Courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors)
Major League Baseball salary commitments by team. (Courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors)

Would you believe it if I told you the Tampa Bay Rays are 20th in salary commitments? The payroll chart above was compiled by MLB Trade Rumors using the Cot’s Baseball Contracts database and the arbitration projections from MLBTR/Matt Swartz. Of course, teams can still trim from these obligations not just by trading players, but also by non-tendering those who are arb-eligible

Finally, as we near the end of the week, the focus will likely shift back toward the trade rumors surrounding Jeremy Hellickson. On Monday, Joel Sherman broke the news that the Rays are aggressively shopping Hellickson around, with the potential of a trade taking by weeks end. The question begs: following a pair of down seasons, what trade equity — if any — does Hellickson possess? The simple answer, not much. Ever since 2010, when HellBoy posted an impressive 22.2% K%/5.4% BB%/.267 BABIP/3.47 ERA/3.88 FIP, his numbers have fallen off thanks to an increased number of home runs, walks, and poor sequencing among other things. Ian Malinowski at DRaysBay summed things up well,

If Matt Silverman is able to trade Helly for useful piece, good job by him. The strong minor league career and the FIP-beater reputation may help him do so. My hopes aren’t all that high though, since by this point, Hellickson seems like a known quantity — known to be able to provide fewer than 200 innings of below average pitching.

Hmph. Still Hellickson, paired in a package deal, could pull something worthwhile. On the same day as the abovementioned tweet, Sherman reported that they (Tampa Bay) would also like to move Matt Joyce or David DeJesus. Interestingly enough, the Braves are open to shopping Evan Gattis in their search of an apt replacement for Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang. What they’d lose in Gattis could be made up for by Joyce or DeJesus. The caveat, Atlanta probably isn’t one of the teams vying for Hellickson. With the loss of Santana and Harang, the Braves need to get “sure IP” for the rotation — Hellickson may be too risky. And so it goes….

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