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  1. Being locked in to a TV deal until 2016 is a bad thing? Just ask the Braves who are locked in for like 25 more years.

    Comment by some guy — April 3, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  2. TV deal until 2016? Tropicana until 2027?

    How much longer can Friedman Moneyball his way into winning? Billy Beane clearly ran out of gas after a string of really impressive seasons given his budget.

    Comment by VJO — April 3, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  3. Haha sometimes I wonder if GMs ever stopped doing deals with Beane or Friedman now out of a fear of looking stupid

    Comment by Jacob — April 3, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  4. #10 is WAY too low imo. Consistent winner on shoe-string budget!! That has got to carry more weight. Great minor league system. This new criteria is dinging small market teams too much, especially the ones who win big on their lightweight budgets. I’d put them at #2. What they’ve done since making the World Series is nothing but SUPER IMPRESSIVE.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  5. Yep, pretty much the deal that will eventually bring about the fall of the Braves

    Comment by NY Braves Fan — April 3, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  6. Impressive yes, but if the team were for sale today at market value and then you were required to sell them in three to five years would this team still be your second choice?

    Comment by MK — April 3, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  7. Point: missed.

    I agree that what they’ve done in the past five years is ‘super impressive,’ but come 2014 if the team is still drawing tiny crowds to a crappy stadium with no new revenue streams to help them lock up the continuing stream of young players, then what? Or if the average payroll around baseball increases 20% but Andrew Friedman’s cunning stays the same, then what? I think the point about being on a knife-edge and getting freakishly lucky was well-made.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — April 3, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  8. #10org

    Didn’t most prospect sites have Rays top 5 for overall rank? Matt Moore is still considered a prospect and is the best ARM overall. This seems a tad low.

    Comment by AL Eastbound — April 3, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  9. As they fail betwen now and 2014 you drop them in the rankings. Right now there is no point in dropping them on the “what ifs” you mentioned. Once they start to materialize then drop them in the rankings if it keeps them from winning on the field. Vegas has their over/under on wins at 87.5 so it sure isn’t this year.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  10. “This new criteria is dinging small market teams too much,”

    Agreed, seems to me if the weight given is such that bad financial circumstances guarantee a ranking no higher than ~10 (4,1,1- near perfect in the other categories) this feature is as much a market ranking as an organizational one.

    Comment by bob — April 3, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

  11. The last part of this article is spot on.

    Comment by adohaj — April 3, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  12. Do you not want to believe that larger markets can cause an organization to be better. This isn’t “Team Rankings”.

    Comment by adohaj — April 3, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

  13. Try Reading. Their 2013+ outlook was ranked #1. The only thing dragging them down is their financials. Which is dragging them down a lot.

    Comment by futant462 — April 3, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  14. I don’t know…Ruben Amaro might have had a better run in trades of late. After all, he never traded Huston Street and CarGo for Matt Holliday and then flipped Holliday for two scrubs and Brett Wallace, who was then turned into Michael Taylor?

    So, from that concert of deals:
    A’s WAR: 2.1 (holliday) – 0.3 (taylor)=1.8 WAR
    Rockies WAR: 3.1 (street) + 12.7 (cargo)= 15.8 WAR
    Cardinals WAR: 3.5 (holliday in 09)

    ouch.

    Comment by ccoop — April 3, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  15. No, and nothing I said implied that…

    Comment by bob — April 3, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  16. I wonder about the same thing with AA in Toronto. Can you imagine being the other GM? “hmm.. well.. he did manage to trade Vernon Wells to the Angels, and he really did seem to want to get rid of Brett Wallace and Zach Stewart like that.. I wonder why he’s offering me this guy? I’m scared, I think I’ll go talk to Omar Minaya…”

    Comment by SC2GG — April 3, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  17. Right! The realistic ceiling on the Rays is #10 given this criteria. The Rays could’ve won the last 4 World Series and probably been no higher ranked than #8. At some point the organization deserves some credit for the amount of wins it has consistently put up while on a small budget.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  18. and maybe Alex Anthopoulos now as well

    Comment by Fletch — April 3, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  19. The problem is that they’re giving a fully 35% of their weight to finances which is not the Rays bread and butter. I don’t think finances should be weighted that heavily, but what are you gonna do, huh? What are you going to do?

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — April 3, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  20. 87.5 ain’t going to be #2 in the majors. This is an overall evaluation of the strength of the franchise, now and in the future.

    Comment by Cliff — April 3, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  21. Wrong. This is a numerical rating. Even though they are 1,1,4 in the other categories they still could be higher in those categories by a lot. If they had won 4 world series in a row and 100+ games each year, you can bet they would be higher.

    Comment by Cliff — April 3, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  22. “Friedman is walking on a razor’s edge, and the only reason we don’t notice is because he’s made it look so gosh-darned easy. But unless the Rays’ underlying financial situation changes somehow over the next couple years — a new stadium deal would change this ranking a lot — their long-term outlook is as clouded as ever. Friedman and Co. will keep the Rays as competitive as possible for as long as possible, but nobody can fight against the current indefinitely.”

    Spot on, finances play a huge roll. They have built it up using some savvy and good fortune but eventually it will change unless their bottom line increases.

    Comment by Colin — April 3, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  23. The real reason why he made the Napoli to Texas deal was so that he could get other GMs to do trades with him again.

    Comment by VJO — April 3, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  24. I too feel that this is way too low for Tampa. I don’t like how much weight financials have in these rankings. A team that signed Ryan Howard to a 9 figure contract, gave Papelbon 50mm, signed Laynce Nix and Raul Ibanez to a multi year deals, traded Cliff Lee away for peanuts so they could re-sign him to a huge deal a year later is going to rank higher than Tampa just because they have the ability to spend lots and lots of money very very inefficiently

    Comment by j6takish — April 3, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

  25. How the rest of the top 10 should round out:

    9. Toronto
    8. Detroit
    7. Los Angeles (AL)
    6. Atlanta
    5. Philiadelphia
    4. St. Louis
    3. Boston
    2. Texas
    1. You ALL know who.

    Comment by YeeSawn — April 3, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  26. Yet they’re gonna be ranked higher than the Rays.

    Comment by Atlanta — April 3, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  27. Round Rock Express?

    Comment by Eric — April 3, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  28. Yeah but you’re ignoring the positives of that, which is being able to acquire a ton of good FA talent, which the financial flexibility gives.

    Comment by bill — April 3, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  29. Cliff, I didn’t say that. #Strawman

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  30. I think Boston would jump Texas for #2. Even with the TV deal letting Texas’ payroll climb to $120 million or so, the Red Sox are $170 million juggernauts who have one of the most cutting edge front offices in MLB. Plus with the 2 WC format, I’d say their 2012 outlooks are about the same.

    Comment by Michael Scott — April 3, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  31. Right. But if you are going to weight it that heavily they should take in to account how efficiently teams are using their financial resources. If a team with the Rays financials is winning as much as a team with the Yankees or Red Sox financials that says something.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  32. Wrong!
    Figure it out and tell us what they would rank then.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  33. Exactly, English. It’s forward looking, not backward looking. If we were ranking impressiveness of achievements over the past few years, the Rays stand a lot better. But if you look at this year and beyond, you’re just wondering how long it is before the weight of their limited resources weighs on them.

    One thing that might be slightly underrated, though, is the limited future financial burdens that the Rays are carrying. Tons of guys are under team control for the long term with TEAM options That’s almost excessively team friendly. By 2014, they could pretty much afford for their entire current core to collapse, since they’d only owe $21.8M TOTAL from 2014-2018. Essentially, having so many team options allows them to easily cut ties with whoever they don’t need, while keeping around people who retain value for them. Even if they’re stuck with a payroll that’s bottom 5 in the game, they have a bit more financial freedom than perhaps a few other teams with significant future commitments.

    Comment by Bronnt — April 3, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  34. I want to agree with you, but untill they top 90 mil in salary for a few years in a row I have to wait

    Comment by Psst — April 3, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  35. Right! Efficiency.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  36. Do you understand how the ranking are calculated? If not, please go back and review that original post. If their numerical rankings increased, they position would be higher, even if their ordinal rankings did not. It’s arithmetic.

    Comment by Cliff — April 3, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  37. So then explain why you would rank them #2?

    Comment by Cliff — April 3, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  38. The Rangers got Napoli from AA for Frankie Francisco. Think that worked out okay.

    Comment by Lone Star Ball — April 3, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  39. I already have explained my ranking for all 30 teams. :)

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  40. I know but there is still likely a ceiling since past World Series championships are probably not going to move any of the (20 – 80) numbers up much if any. Feel free to run the numbers for us though.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  41. i thought the opposite… if anything 10 is high. they dont have a revenue stream and the front offices leaguewide are rapidly catching up to them if they havent already.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 3, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  42. i dont understand the “cutting edge” front office argument here…. how do you know what goes on in their front office? the guy currently running it has been on the job for one offseason and hasn’t done anything noteworthy at all, at least transactionally. its like youre just blindly guessing/hoping

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 3, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  43. Yeah, because the Braves average 30,000 fans a game, and the Rays can’t even get 20,000 people to show up. TV deals are increasingly important, but they are not the only component of revenue.

    Comment by Anon21 — April 3, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  44. Xeifrank.. isn’t that what Baseball Operations does?

    Comment by Tom — April 3, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  45. Efficiency is part of the equation. Productivity is the goal. Whether the results are produced from $10 very efficiently or $1000 very inefficiently doesn’t matter.

    The Ray’s problem is their bad revenue situation is unlikely to change. An MLB front office can change quickly (see Astros, Houston).

    The rankings have it right.

    Comment by Anon — April 3, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  46. A gray area, but probably so. Imo more weight should be put on it and less on them being a small market team. #10org doesn’t pass my sniff test.

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  47. I’m (Team A) winning 94 games with $50 and you (Team B) are winning 84 with $90 (fairly consistently) which is better? Which org is ran better and by how much?

    Yes, Team A is at a disadvantage in regards to revenue streams but I have shown that over four and likely 5-6 years in a row that I can outperform you and others that spend three times as much as I on a consistent basis. At some point you can’t lump me in with the teams that spend $50 and consistently win 70 games in this financial category. If you want to break that part of it up and put it in the “Operations” category that is fine, but you need to weight “Operations” heavier for me and Financials less because I have shown that I don’t fit the pattern of a “cookie cutter” small revenue organization.

    And yes, past performance should have a consideration (weighted most recent higher of course) when looking at current and future trends. Someone who has been a failure in the past vs someone who has been an amazing success in the past, whose model would you rather use?
    vr, Xei

    Comment by xeifrank — April 3, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  48. Cherington was an internal promotion for the Sox. Hes been around for a while. Losing Epstein isn’t going to bring the front office down to nothing. And what moves were there to make this offseason to improve the team? Add bullpen depth to replace Papelbon leaving and Bard converting to a starter.

    Comment by Jimmy Wahl — April 3, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  49. I think it’s difficult to reconcile the three things here, which are payroll, future talent, and present talent.

    The primary problem is that the real ramifications of payroll are felt, not now (present talent), not in 2012, maybe not in 2014 even (if you’ve locked up your cheap future talent), but in, say, 2022, when we have actual no idea who will be on an MLB roster.

    I mean, think about this. If you wanted to win now, you’d probably pick the Phillies, or the Yankees, or Texas or Boston or (maybe) the Rays, right? If you wanted to win in 2014, you’d take, I don’t know, Texas; St. Louis; the Rays; maybe the Royals.

    But if you wanted to win in 2020? The Yankees, and always the Yankees. Because after enough time, draft luck evens out. Nothing can replace being able to buy superstars, being able to take on salary from other, stupid teams.

    I feel that this fact – that if you had to bet on the best team in baseball in 2020 you’d bet on the Yankees – HAS to count for something. But you can make a very reasonable argument that it only applies so far in the future that it’s pointless to project teams for it anyway. I personally disagree; if the Rays are fringy this year, the fact they can’t go buy Cole Hamels is a genuine negative.

    Comment by CJ — April 3, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

  50. Andrew Friedman has been the GM of the Rays since the end of the 2005 season.

    Comment by Chomp — April 3, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  51. Well in the Baltimore rankings I am pretty sure it stated that they were in a division with 3 of the top 7 ranked teams. So I am going to guess that Toronto is going to be #7.

    Comment by killmak — April 3, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

  52. Money matters a lot. A whole lot. What happens to the Rays if the Red Sox give their injury bug to the Rays for a season and Longoria plays 80 games, Upton 92, and Shields goes down for TJ after half a season?

    Comment by NBarnes — April 3, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  53. Spending inefficiently is something the smartest low revenue teams usually avoid, but it also keeps them completely cut off from a) acquiring the best free agent talent, and b) keeping their best talent when it reaches free agency. (Extreme exceptions like Longoria notwithstanding.) A team with tons of money has a) a much wider margin for error – making an expensive FA mistake will not cripple the team, and b) they can keep their best talent around for as long as they want.

    These are huge advantages over a team with outlier revenue limitations like the Rays. So I don’t have a problem with penalizing them pretty severely for it.

    Comment by bflaff — April 3, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

  54. The Rays would have a much harder time getting the injury bug that has plagued The Red Sox and Yankees. 25 year olds (who are the healthiest human beings on earth) playing for short money are often taking top care of themselves looking for their big payouts down the line.

    Comment by Shane H — April 4, 2012 @ 9:16 am

  55. Draft Luck evens out over time but player development and organizational strategy not so much.

    Comment by Shane H — April 4, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  56. chomp – i thought it was clear michael was referring to boston

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 4, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  57. they cant get sellouts on playoff games even

    Comment by Daniel — April 4, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  58. Atlanta #6org jinx.

    Comment by L.UZR — April 4, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  59. More importantly who is going to play Friedman in “The Extra 2%” the movie! ;)

    Comment by Adam W — April 4, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  60. That’s also only cherry picking the bad deals. How much did the Phillies pay for Utley or Victorinio over the course of those deals? How ’bout that Roy Halladay contract?

    Comment by ausmax — April 4, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

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