For teams that come from smaller markets that do not allow for a huge payroll, competing in Major League Baseball can be a very big challenge. One team that may have an even bigger challenge than most small market teams is the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays typically have one of the smaller payrolls in baseball and also have the disadvantage of sharing a division with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, two teams that are typically among the leaders in the MLB in terms of payroll. While the Rays may not always have the payroll to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, they do tend to be well-coached and have a lot of young talent. This allows the team to compete well on the field. In 2017, they were considered one of the more surprising teams in baseball as they finished around .500.
While the Rays looked like they could be in good position to have a similarly successful season this year, they have spent the majority of the offseason preparing for future years. This is evidenced by the fact that they have traded many of their starting lineup for prospects that should be very good in the future (http://www.tbo.com/sports/baseball/rays/Sports-Day-Tampa-Bay-podcast-The-Rays-fire-sale-is-on_165696291).
In the past few months, the Rays have traded away several of their star players including Corey Dickerson, Evan Longoria, and Jake Ordorrizi. This past week they also traded Steven Souza to the Arizona Diamondbacks. While many people are concerned that this will leave the Rays without a good team this year, avid fans are happy with what they have received in return. In return for these players, they have been able to free up some payroll space and also have a lot of prospects to groom. This helps to provide the team with one of the best farm systems in baseball.
While the Rays did trade away a lot of their starting lineup, there is still plenty of room for optimism with the upcoming team and season. The moves to clear some roster space will allow the team to bring up a few different rookies to start on the opening roster. This will give the team even more experience that will be very valuable in the future and make the franchise competitive for years to come.