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Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-12-30


Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-12-30
It was White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen who predicted the Rays' success in 2008 would cost some team a lot of money in 2009, and that team appears to be the Yankees.

New York's recent spending spree that netted pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixeira could upset the current balance of power in the AL East.

"I figured (Teixeira) would land in our division someplace," manager Joe Maddon told mlb.com. "The big names are going to normally land within the AL East. We still have to remain focused on what we are doing regardless of how the other rosters stack up. We need to control what we can and play the game our way."

The Rays knew the Yankees were going to be big spenders this offseason, and vice president of baseball Andrew Friedman said that would not affect how he conducts his business this winter.

"We feel like it's by far the best division in baseball, and with that, these guys make great moves and it's something we can't concern ourselves with too much," Friedman said. "That's when you put added pressure on yourself and in turn make big decisions that you otherwise shouldn't."

In other words, the Rays will try to keep ahead of the Joneses by sticking to their plan, which took them to the division title, the American League pennant and the World Series.

The Rays opened the 2008 season with a $43 million payroll. The Yankees started last year with a $209 million payroll.

Friedman put together a World Series team last season with shrewd moves that included trading a minor league pitcher for Willy Aybar, who filled in at first and third base, and signing free agents Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske, both of whom played key roles during the pennant drive.

Look for Friedman's offseason moves to be along the same lines as the moves he made last winter.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 30, 2008

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