Chris Archer thinks the Rays need to “spend more money” to win

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The Rays set a record-high payroll at nearly $77 million in 2014 and followed that up with a $76 million Opening Day payroll in ’15, but the club has consistently ranked at the bottom in payroll expenditure when compared to the 29 other teams. All-Star starter Chris Archer told MLB Network Radio that “in order for us to be successful, we’ve got to spend more money,” as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Archer also said that he feels that Rays executives talking about being at a “competitive disadvantage” contributes to a negative mindset with the players. “I get it,” he said. “We might not be capable of spending with the Yankees and Red Sox. But if we keep harping on it then it permeates the minds of the players. And we don’t want the players to think that we’re at any competitive disadvantage. We have a different advantage I believe, and I think it comes from the scouting department and the creativeness that we’ve been able to develop over the years.”

However, the Rays finished this past season having drawn the fewest fans, averaging just under 16,000 per game. Yet that was actually an increase from their 2015 average. Though the Rays were quite competitive from 2008-13, fans didn’t show up which is why owner Stuart Sternberg recently commissioned a viability study for a baseball stadium in Montreal.

The Rays enter the offseason with just over $25 million committed to three players, but they have 12 potential arbitration cases which will help the payroll soar towards the $60-70 million mark. Despite a lackluster free agent market, the Rays could make some upgrades if they were willing to spend and that would certainly make Archer happy.

Archer, 28, is coming off of a bit of a down year. He finished 9-19 with a 4.02 ERA and a 233/67 K/BB ratio in 201 1/3 innings.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.