MLBPA Files Grievance Against Rays…Owner is “Surprised”

Clayton Windsor

Over the past several months the Tampa Bay Rays have been a fire sale, shelling out trade after trade, most of which have made little to no sense from an “on the field” standpoint.

That’s where this is headed……what is this team doing “on the field”. It started back when Evan Longoria, the face of the organization, was traded to San Francisco for a bag of peanuts. I always use this analogy: ask any little kid in the city of Tampa who their favorite baseball player is…. most would say Longo, or at least would’ve at one point in time. There have been some other big names come thru the Tampa Bay organization, but none of which had stayed longer, been as marketable, or had more of an impact than Longoria.

Thinking that might would be the only huge move the Rays made to clear some money up for other moves this offseason, they then let Morrison walk. 38HRs, and 85 RBIs last year…not too shabby. A definite role player on the squad, but a below .250 hitter. Stomachable. (Its a word now)

Then, an all-star, Corey Dickerson was Designated for Assignment and eventually traded. Not stomachable. Not for the fans that are tired of being the butthole of the league. A team that has been in shambles damn near since Joe Maddon took his talents, along with some players, up to Chicago. Throw in the Jake Odorizzi trade and you now have to question where is all this saved money going? Surely ownership has a plan right?

Per Deadspin:

$45 million in reported annual revenue sharing from MLB’s higher-spending teams.

$35 million in the final year of its local TV deal. A new, 15-year deal is close to being signed, with the average payout rising to $82 million annually over the length of the deal, beginning in 2019.

$50 million—at minimum—in a lump sum from the sale of MLB’s digital media company BAMTeach.

Total: ~$130 MILLION


Lets bring that phrase back… “on the field”

MLB team ownership has a responsibility to not only their teams fans, but to the players on the team who have NO say in how the money is spent. They have a responsibility, according to the CBA,  to spend that money “to improve its performance on the field”

The Rays have failed to abide by this responsibility, thus the players left are a bit anxious and downright pissed…as they should be:

Daniel Robertson on Twitter

DdddddJ Khaled- “Anotha one

Brent Honeywell (@brent_honeywell) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from Brent Honeywell (@brent_honeywell). Professional baseball player

Then…straight from the mouth of their now former super-star, Longoria:

“I kind of just feel bad for the Rays’ fan base.  It’s really hard to come into a clubhouse and to win when you give away your best players,” Longoria told reporters Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

One former star, one current standout sound off on direction Tampa Bay Rays are taking

Evan Longoria was the face of the Tampa Bay Rays organization for a decade before being traded to the San Francisco Giants in December, but he’s kept a close eye on his former organization even as he’s had to adjust to a new city and a new league.

The MLBPA has filed a grievance against a handful of teams (See below) for the way that the “revenue-sharing money” has been spent or is being spent. Some teams may have a strong case, and in my opinion, the Rays definitely have some ground to stand on.

Barry Jackson on Twitter

The union is again upset with the Marlins, who are spending $96 M on players and getting about $160 M just from MLB (before selling a single ticket or sponsorship or factoring in local TV money):

The Marlins are an absolute dumpster fire…but the Rays were only a handful of games out of the post-season last year. This greedy ass owner is going to fire sale the team, pocket millions of dollars, then sell the team and pocket even more money prior to having to deal with moving the stadium and team to the other side of the bridge…which is also in the works. Even if he gets this team from St. Pete to Tampa, then sells, it makes the team worth more, again, padding his already fat pockets. What does Sternberg think about it?

Marc Topkin on Twitter

We’re very judicious in how we spend our money, but it’s spent in a lot of forms, and payroll is one of them,” #Rays Sternberg in response to union grievance

He says he was “genuinely surprised” that a grievance was filed and that the Rays are “beyond what compliance is”…first off, what the fuck does that even mean dude? How can you be surprised when you’ve shipped off several of the best players on this team? Oh, you’re very judicious in how that money is being spent….Let me ask then, whatcha spending it on? From the outside looking in, its really hard to tell. The Trop is in shambles and needs to be condemned. If you look at lists of the best and worst stadiums in, not just baseball, but professional sports, Tropicana Field is consistently at the bottom of the list.


ex. 1

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So if the money isn’t going to your roster, its damn sure not going into the stadium for updates, its not going into marketing because NOBODY wants to go watch a game in that dump…….where is it going? How are you helping the product on the field? Its your responsibility. Small market teams cant compete or survive in this league if that revenue sharing money isn’t spent in ways that improve the teams results on the field. This is a fact. Even if your payroll is higher than last year come opening day…youre stadium will not be as full because you shipped off your cornerstones.

Hot Take: With the way things are going, it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise if this city were to lose its baseball team. Its already not supported, the owner could sell to the highest bidder and ride off into the sunset. A lot of cities in this country would give anything for a baseball team.

Should this be OK? Surely the MLBPA can get something done to prevent this from going on. Surely the MLB can see the writing on the wall here…..

MLB responded with a statement to the Times: “We have received the grievance and believe it has no merit.”


The only silver lining I can find is that the Rays have a pretty solid farm system at the moment, with prospects like Honeywell, SS Willy Adams, Infielder Christian Arroyo, and 20 year old OF Jesus Sanchez. Oh, and they haven’t traded away ace pitcher Chris Archer (yet). That with the potential to get out of that dump of a stadium, across the bridge to a more desirable location where fans might actually go to a game… could definitely mean a bright future for the organization.

Yet, when the MLBPA is filing grievances… the present is a very dark one.



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