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'Money won't be an object' for Rays … maybe

Jul 7, 2010, 12:40 AM EST

Earlier Tuesday there was a report that the Tampa Bay Rays might be in on the chase for Cliff Lee. Later on, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg (pictured) was talking big about his budget and how even though it is “beyond stretched,” he was willing to open the purse strings. From Marc Topkin:

Asked if the Rays could make a “significant” addition, Sternberg replied: “By any means necessary. We’ll do whatever — money won’t be an object. Players are always an object for us. And the money will be an impediment, but we’ll figure it out if it makes all the sense in the world for this team.”

“Any means necessary!” How exciting for Rays fans. Well wait a minute. Hold on. What was that thing he said about an “impediment?”

Clarifying further on the money quote, Sternberg said, “it’s an impediment, it’s certainly a large impediment. And (Andrew) reminds me of what it means for the future because basically what it is is you’re borrowing from the future on your chances this year and possibly recouping some of it. But that’s not a business plan to say we’re going to play five- and seven-game series right through the end of the World Series, it’s not something you can count on.”

Oh.

So what does it all mean? Are the Rays willing to spend money or not? Will they deal prospects for a player like Lee? Perhaps. After all, a half-season of Lee would only cost the Rays about $4 million, and then they can let him walk as a Type A free agent after the season and net a pair of draft picks. That could make some sense.

But the Rays aren’t going to go wild chasing pricey players with long-term contracts. In fact, they might not do anything at all. Remember, they were saying these sorts of things last year as well.

The words “by any means necessary” just carry a lot more credibility coming out of the mouth of something like, say, Brian Cashman.

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  1. Rays fan1 - Jul 7, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    I think the translation is that they will work a trade for Cliff Lee if they can within their budget, then let him walk and take the draft picks. Their budget does not allow them to engage in free agent bidding wars (ie, no Carl Crawford for the Rays in 2011 either) & their modus operandi for success has been to build through the draft & lock up the best young players prior to their hitting arbitration eligibility.

  2. Old Gator - Jul 7, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Sadly, I believe that Carl Crawford, like Cliff Lee, will be made Borg this offseason, if not sooner. Perhaps that money might be better spent painting Calder designs inside the ceiling of the Tropicana Tumulus to cheer that dump up a little and cut down on incidences of depression,

  3. .fanball58 - Jul 7, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    I love the Trop and don’t find anything wrong with it other than ownership greed in motion. There’s nothing wrong with the Trop and the roof and the AC was working just fine the other night. Only an IDIOT wants to take baseball outside in the Tampa Area during the summer.
    Stu – if you want a new stadium – I’m all for it. As long as you pay for it 100% and make the lease on the Trop good. Otherwise Stu – shut up an play ball at the Trop.

  4. Rays fan1 - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Everyone says it’ll be the Yankees Crawford goes to, but I really expect the Red Sox to at minimum push the price up.
    fanball: You’re in the minority for liking the Tropicana “unique facility.” Nothing much will happen about the Rays’ current location in the current economy, but expect a move to a new park somewhere on the I-4 corridor sometime in the future. Also, understand that Old Gator has PTSD from too many buzzings by the miniblimp dumping useless coupons on his head.

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