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Sternberg addresses criticism of Rays' moves

Owner spoke to media Wednesday, says Rays will win more games than many think
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Stu Sternberg held court prior to Tuesday afternoon's Rays-Orioles contest at the Charlotte Sports Park, and the Rays' principal owner addressed a number of topics.

The club has made a lot of moves recently, which saw fan favorites Jake Odorizzi, Corey Dickerson, and Steven Souza Jr. depart. In response to criticism over those moves, Sternberg said:

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Stu Sternberg held court prior to Tuesday afternoon's Rays-Orioles contest at the Charlotte Sports Park, and the Rays' principal owner addressed a number of topics.

The club has made a lot of moves recently, which saw fan favorites Jake Odorizzi, Corey Dickerson, and Steven Souza Jr. depart. In response to criticism over those moves, Sternberg said:

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"We have definitionally run about the lowest payroll in baseball year in and out since we've been here. We also, definitionally, over that period of time, have had pretty good success. We have beaten teams with four to five times our payroll. I'm proud to do it."

He added that he'd also like for the Rays to be able to compete with the checkbook, and that not being able to do that has been a hindrance for the organization.

In regard to the ongoing effort in Tampa to have a ballpark built for the Rays in the Ybor City neighborhood, he allowed that strides are being made, and that everybody concerned remains optimistic, adding:

"I don't anticipate it being one large event like, 'Look what just happened.' But I think it's going to be a lot of people pulling a lot of oars. I've had some conversations and communications with the guys leading the effort to this point. And they're more optimistic today than they were a month ago."

Will a new TV deal help make the Rays more competitive?

"If and when we have the opportunity to get a new TV deal, it can only help us to increase our finances to put more dough on the field. The TV space at this point is quite dynamic and volatile. When we do come up for a renewal, it won't be in the type of environment we might have seen three to five to ten years ago.

"Look, the environments and markets, and economies change for various reasons. ... Markets do change. Some players have found a tougher time finding a market this offseason. Other players have found an incredible market. So it depends on what's in demand at that time. It remains to be seen how the media landscape changes. We do believe there will be some change going forward. And how dramatic that is will help inform how we do, when we do when we negotiate our next deal."

On the number of games he thinks the Rays will win this season?

"More than you think."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays