In one of the most surprising developments in MLB Free Agency 2.0, the Tampa Bay Rays are doing whatever they can to keep themselves in the race for first baseman Freddie Freeman.
During the offseason, Tampa Bay has splashed the cash in an unprecedented way, extending star shortstop Wander Franco in a deal that came close to $200 million, signing Corey Kluber, Mike Zunino, and others.
The race has been long, but as several competitors opt to take other roads when it comes to filling the first base position, the Rays remain with chances, even if the Los Angeles Dodgers remain the favorites and the San Diego Padres are still in the mix, as well.
Additionally, the Rays have several things going on for them that Freeman could find enticing.
“One thing to keep in mind as Freeman talks continue: No state tax in FL (Rays) vs. 12.3 percent for highest bracket in CA (Dodgers, Padres). On other hand, Dodgers perennial contenders, Padres also set up well to compete. Can Freeman count on low-revenue Rays to sustain success?,” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Wednesday.
One thing to keep in mind as Freeman talks continue: No state tax in FL (Rays) vs. 12.3 percent for highest bracket in CA (Dodgers, Padres). On other hand, Dodgers perennial contenders, Padres also set up well to compete. Can Freeman count on low-revenue Rays to sustain success?
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2022
The Rays Should Be Competitive For Years To Come
Regarding Rosenthal’s last open question, the Rays have been a powerhouse in the AL East for years, and already made it into a World Series in 2020.
They also advanced to the World Series in 2008, so it’s not like seeing them compete is anything new.
They have a stellar player development staff, they make smart signings and draft picks, and they play baseball optimizing their resources, and they are masters of their craft.
In other words, the low-revenue Rays should be able to remain a top team for a long time given their strong farm system, their star power, and their newfound desire to spend when they see it necessary.
Right now, bringing in Freeman seems necessary if they want to keep up with the impressive Toronto Blue Jays.
The slugger would surely help the young Rays: he hit .300 with 31 homers and 120 runs scored last year, and that doesn’t include his five postseason homers.