Jayson Werth, talking to Tim Brown of Yahoo about the Nats, everyone’s preseason favorite in the NL East, being in second place, looking up at the Mets:
“I don’t mind being in stalking position,” Werth said. “When you make the run at it down the stretch, it’s easier to chase than to be chased. You know? I like these guys. We’re good. You see these teams having internal problems and stuff, that’s not us. We’re good.”
It’s easier to chase if you’re, say, a wolf or a lion or something. But being in the lead is way better for anyone who isn’t a deer or a zebra. In sports — and I realize this may be controversial — it’s way better to be in first place than second. That’s just science.
But then again, there are people who are paid to provide analysis in baseball who think that home runs kill rallies, so perhaps I’m wrong about this.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).