AL Wild Card: Rays Out-Discount A's in Battle of the Budgets
For one season, at least, MLB showed that money actually isn't everything.
The two biggest-payroll teams are watching the playoffs on TV:
- The Boston Red Sox, at $213.19million, fired their GM as a result, and
- The Chicago Cubs, at $208.20, hid behind the mutual-agreement veneer to dump their manager.
The one big-bucks dude on Tampa Bay's roster is Astros discard Charlie Morton.
Gotta say, he's proof once again that when the Rays do splash out, they know what they're doing. Morton's got a 5.0 WAR this season, supported by a 16-6 campaign with a 3.05 earnie and 1.05 WHIP while chomping 194⅔ innings.
The feisty A's have made the post-season in five of the last eight seasons but have yet to advance from their starting point. In fact, that hasn't happened since 1990, when they made it to the World Series and got swept by the Reds.
As to the Rays, they're one of only three teams that took the season series -- 4-3 -- from Houston.
The 'Stros went balls-out wire-to-wire to get home-field advantage all the way through the playoffs, so there were no soft series wins. Here are the other two who prevailed:
- One fellow post-season contender, Minnesota Twins (3-4), and surprisingly,
- The youthful Chicago White Sox (3-4).
Maybe there is near-future hope for the Sox.
Right now, though, it's the Rays' impressive roster mix that's on center stage:
- Clever trades that reeled in the likes of Tommy Pham and the duo of Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow,
- Smart scouting that produced players such as Blake Snell, and of course,
- Wise spending that put Morton in their rotation.
All the Rays need now are big plans for a new stadium.
Until then, they'll settle for challenging Houston.