If there is one constant for the Tampa Bay Rays, it is that nothing is constant. The Rays are a team that will part with any player at any time, looking to not only save money where they can, but to extend their window of contention as much as possible. It is a testament to their front office and scouting that their seemingly never ending pipeline of prospects have been able to make such a difference.
On Wednesday, the Rays made a move to keep the mastermind of their operation. General manager Erik Neander has not only signed an extension, but has also been promoted to the team’s president of baseball operations.
Tampa Bay Rays keep Erik Neander around for the long term
Neander has learned from a pair of masters when it comes to building a contender with a small payroll. He joined the front office during Andrew Friedman’s tenure, and was a part of the brain trust when Chaim Bloom was in Neander’s current role.
Just as Friedman and Bloom had been plucked by other organizations, Neander had been of interest for teams looking to overhaul their front office. The Angels had been interested in bringing him on board during their own general manager search last year, and it would not have been surprising if the Mets had pursued him this offseason.
Instead, the Rays will keep another key to their organization in the fold. He has been able to take a team with one of the lowest payrolls in the game to the top of the American League, with the most wins and best run differential in the league. The Rays have also made moves to shore up their roster before the deadline, adding a key piece in Nelson Cruz while finding takers for Rich Hill and Diego Castillo.
But that has been the way the Rays have operated throughout their run of success. They have found the right pieces to slot in, regardless of the position. But one constant has been the Rays coaching staff and front office. Keeping Neander in place will help keep everything moving forward.
The Tampa Bay Rays are keeping Erik Neander in place. His continued presence in the front office should keep the Rays in contention for the foreseeable future.