Rays winning despite not having large payroll

With their 13-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALCS, the Tampa Bay Rays are sitting just one win away from heading to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. And as John Romano of The St. Petersburg Times writes, the Rays are beating a team with a much larger payroll, and more resources at their disposal.

Tampa Bay RaysFor, in Tampa Bay, this season is beginning to look like sweet payback after all the years of ridicule. This series is quickly turning into validation after putting up with a lifetime of smug and an earful of snide comments.

The Rays are not just a hot team. And they are not a fluke. What they appear to be is deeper and more well-rounded than Boston. That’s remarkable considering the disparity in resources.

When the Red Sox decided to invest in a Japanese player in 2007, they spent $103-million on Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Rays spent about $12-million on Aki Iwamura.

When the Red Sox went looking for a bat in the free agent market in ’07, they signed J.D. Drew to a $70-million contract. That same winter, the Rays spent $800,000 on Red Sox castoff Carlos Pena.
When they needed help this summer, the Red Sox brought in Jason Bay, Mark Kotsay and Paul Byrd in various deals. The Rays acquired Chad Bradford.

So if Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is a genius with a $137-million payroll, what does that make Friedman and his $43-million allowance?

In other words, if the Red Sox lose, they will have no excuses.

Just the knowledge that they were beaten by a team that appears intent on making history.

The Rays follow the 2007 Rockies as examples of how payroll means noting in the postseason. And apparently experience is starting to mean less and less too, because this is one of the youngest rosters in the league. It’s amazing to watch this series and note that the Red Sox appear to be no match for the Rays. Think about that for a second. The mighty Red Sox, can’t handle a Rays team that many predicted to finish last in the AL East for the whatever-straight year. Amazing.

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