In sports, it is always safe to hate on management.
They are ungodly wealthy and have exclusive control over something that is so important to us. To quote Eddie Cicotte’s character in Eight Men Out “You don’t understand how a ballplayer can agree to throw the World Series? That’s because you never worked for Charlie Commiskey.”
Stu has given Rays fans a lot of use for their torches and pitch forks this year. He allowed the roster to turn over removing several fan favorites, a sign some fans saw as a fire sale. Then he picked several fights complaining about attendance and threatening further roster cut backs. Those were unpopular, albeit necessary, problems Stu and the Rays had to endure to allow them to be primed for another title run next spring.
But, if we are going to criticize Stu — whether fairly or unfairly — then we have to give him credit when credit is due. Last night Stu completed a $9.5MM investment in the Rays future by completing the signing of all of the Rays top picks from June’s draft. That is no small feat or small investment.
Last winter, when the Rays completed their stockpiling of draft picks, two questions arose. Is there enough talent for the Rays to make those picks worthwhile? And, less discussed, can the Rays afford signing bonuses for all those players? We obsessed over the first question but paid short shrift to the second. In fact, the conspiracy theorist in me was curious as to whether the Rays intention was to allow some of their high picks to go unsigned to create picks in the 2012 draft ( in fact, I wondered if they were setting up a perpetual draft bonanza by acquiring future picks by drafting and not signing every year).
But, Stu showed he cares about winning. He invested $9MM in a group of players that could be the next core of talent in Rays history. For that, he deserves a thank you.