One More Hurdle for Rays to Climb in Earning MLB Respect

Tracy Ringolsby

Let's see, the Dodgers had run off three consecutive wins in order to rally and knock off the Braves in the NLCS so they could advance to the World Series. The Yankees never got past the the AL Division Series, getting eliminated by the Rays.

And the Rays?

They were waiting to find out their opponent in the World Series while the Dodgers were rallying on Sunday to knock off the Braves.

And so we now have .... a baseball Blue Blood, the Dodgers, taking on the upstart Rays, a production of baseball's latest expansion back in 1998.

Surprised?

Don't be. The Rays aren't free spenders, but they have become fairly consistent winners. And they do it with analytics, the current fad in baseball, but not with a blind spot toward the basics of the game. 

They build a team by listening to scouts, taking a chance, and having the type of player development program that produces the likes of Mike Brosseau, who evolves from an undrafted, $1,000 sign out of college to a critical player off the bench and a post-season hero.

The Rays, who opened the post-season second to the Dodgers in terms of the odds, now find themselves at 7/2 against the Dodgers, who are now 1/2. 

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And it's not a sudden rise. Even before the post-season began, the Rays were No. 2 in terms of the odds to win the World Series, just behind the Dodgers and just ahead of the Yankees.

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Cost efficient? Well, in this COVID-impacted time in which the regular season was limited to 60 games, the Yankees led MLB with a payroll of $109,439,081. The Rays? They ranked 28th out of 30 teams at $28,290,689.

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And it has always been that way. The Rays advanced to the post-season for the sixth time in 13 years this season. And they have had success without an outlandish payroll.

In their six post-season appearances they have ranked 30th in payroll once, 29th once, 28th twice, 20th once and 28th three times.

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