Rays are not yet planning a Wil Myers promotion

21 Comments

Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and SiriusXM’s Inside Pitch tweeted Saturday that the Rays “are getting closer to recalling” top outfield prospect Wil Myers and that it “should happen” within the “next 10 days.”

But nobody else is corroborating Bowden’s report.

In fact, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says the Rays have not taken any steps toward promoting the talented 22-year-old because there is simply no place to put him. Kelly Johnson, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist have been doing a good job of handling the corner outfield spots and Luke Scott is the Rays’ full-time designated hitter. Myers needs to play every day, and there’s no way of guaranteeing him that kind of regular action right now at the major league level.

“We have a number of players in Triple-A who are knocking on the door,” Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said Saturday when asked specifically about a Myers callup. “We don’t look at a calendar to determine when to make a move. We have seen some already this year, and there are others whose time hasn’t come yet. Oftentimes it simply comes down to opportunity, like when an injury creates an opening. Until that opportunity arises, our players get to work on their game so they’re better prepared when the call comes.”

Myers is batting .286/.359/.515 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI in 57 games this season for the Durham Bulls. Tampa Bay will save money in the long run by letting him further marinate in the minors because they can avoid him qualifying for an extra year of arbitration as a Super Two. Though that window does close soon.

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

Getty Images
5 Comments

The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.