The 2010s All-Decade Tampa Bay Rays defied all the odds, proving that to win in MLB you don’t need to empty the bank, you just need to play smart.
You look at a team like the Tampa Bay Rays and you have to wonder how in the world do they stay competitive on such a low budget. During the 2010s, the Rays continued the level of play that took them to the 2008 World Series.
This decade, they have an 860-681 (.531 W-L%) record, winning 90 in a season or more games 6x. That’s more than the Boston Red Sox, who only won 90 or more games in a season during the 2010s 5x.
They did it on a fraction of the budget of the powerhouse teams inside of their own division. In fact, according to Spotrac, this is how the Rays compared with the Red Sox and New York Yankees during the 2010s (no data for 2010):
[NYY, Wins, ~Payroll | BOS, Wins, ~Payroll | TBR, Wins, ~Payroll]
- 2019: NYY, 103, $223M | BOS, 84, $229M | TBR, 96, $64M
- 2018: NYY, 100, $180M | BOS, 108, $227M | TBR, 90, $69M
- 2017: NYY, 91, $210M | BOS, 93, $210M | TBR, 80, $78M
- 2016: NYY, 84, $221M | BOS, 93, $208M | TBR, 68, $64M
- 2015: NYY, 87, $223M | BOS, 78, $183M | TBR, 80, $74M
- 2014: NYY, 84, $215M | BOS, 71, $170M | TBR, 77, $77M
- 2013: NYY, 85, $239M | BOS, 97, $171M | TBR, 92, $73M
- 2012: NYY, 95, $228M | BOS, 69, $175M | TBR, 90, $70M
- 2011: NYY, 97, $214M | BOS, 90, $173M | TBR, 91, $46M
What you’ll notice is that the Rays never exceeded $80M in payroll in any season while the Red Sox and Yankees exceeded $150M or more all ten years. In fact, on average the Rays spent about $715K per win while the Red Sox and Yankees spent more than $2M each.
It’s proof for why you don’t need to break the bank to be competitive.
With that, let’s take a look at the talent the Tampa Bay Rays featured during the 2010s.