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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

10/19/2020 : At the Top ... American League

Now that two teams have ascended to the ranks of League Champions I thought that I’d take a look at each club’s organizational makeup and roster builds. Baseball is a copycat industry so it’s likely that the way these clubs are presently formed becomes or continues as a trend for others to follow.

Here’s a look at the Tampa Bay Rays ... will do the Dodgers in a separate article ... gives me stuff to do 🤪🤓✍️.

Tampa Rays - American League Champions :

40-20 Regular season ... 9-5 Postseason

Owner : Stuart Sternberg

Year Purchased : 2004 ( $ 200 Million )

Franchise Worth :

$ 1.05 Billion according to Forbes ( April, 2020 ) ... in a normal season - $264 million Revenue including $ 31 million from gate receipts ... $ 87 million in player expenses ... $ 68 million operating income ... 3 million metro area population ... debt to worth % - 19 %

Baseball Operations Front Office :

Team President : Matthew Silverman ( 44 years old )

Seventeen seasons with the Rays ... twelve as team President. Also served as President of Baseball Operations ( 2015 - 2017 ). Graduate of Harvard with a degree in Economics

Senior Vice President and General Manager : Erik Neander ( 37 years old )

Fourteen seasons with the Rays ... four in his current role. Joined the Rays as an Intern in 2007 and worked his way up the ladder ... was named manager of Baseball R&D in 2009, Director of Baseball Operations in 2012 and VP of Baseball Operations in 2014. Graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in Food, Nutrition and Exercise.

Special Assistant to the General Manager : Bobby Heck ( 54 years old )

Eight seasons with the Rays ... three in his current role. Joined the Rays as a Special Assignment Scout in 2013 ... promoted to Special Assistant - Baseball Operations - 2015.

Previously was Assistant GM and Scouting Director for the Astros ( six years ) after spending 12 years as a scout for the Rangers and Brewers. Florida International graduate with masters degree in Sports Management from St Thomas University. Played minor league baseball for two seasons in the A’s organization as a Catcher.

Vice President - Operations and Analytics : Barry Newell

Four seasons with the Rays ... promoted to current position in 2020. Joined the Rays after working in NYC as an Investment Banker. MBA from Northwestern University - Marketing and Business Analytics and Undergraduate degree from Princeton University

Vice President - Baseball Development : Peter Bendix ( 34 years old )

Twelve seasons with the Rays ... promoted to current position in 2019. Joined the Rays in 2009 as an Intern and worked up the ladder ... served as Coordinator of Baseball R&D, Assistant of Baseball Operations as well as four years as Director of Baseball Development. Graduate of Tufts University with a degree in American Studies ... was a writer before joining the Rays.

Director of Pro Scouting : Kevin Ibach

Eight seasons with the Rays ... twenty years in Pro Baseball ... joined the Club in 2012 after serving as Midwest Area Scout for the Miami Marlins ( 2007 - 2012 ) and Baseball Operations Coordinator for the Baltimore Orioles ( 2000 - 2007 ). Began with the Rays as a Pro Scout. Graduate of La Salle University with a degree in Communication.

Director of Amateur Scouting : Rob Metzler ( 35 years old )

Thirteen seasons with the Rays ... promoted to his current role in 2020, previous four years as Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting. joined the Rays in 2008 as an intern and worked his way up holding various scouting roles. Graduate of Bowdoin University with a degree in Physics. Also holds a Masters dual degree from University of Massachusetts - Amherst.

Director of Staff Development and Recruiting : Chanda Lawdermilk

Three years with the Rays ... fourteen years in Major League Baseball. Prior to joining the Rays she was the Manager of HR for the Astros from 2006 to 2017. Her job is a bit unique in Baseball ... she focuses on employee engagement, development and recruiting. She spent 12 years working for a private recruiting firm in the oil and gas industry and has a degree from Texas A&M University. Manager and Primary Coaches :

Manager : Kevin Cash ( 42 years old ) - Twenty one years in professional baseball, eighteen at the major league level ... six as a major league manager. Grew up in Tampa and played in the Little League World Series in 1989. Played college baseball as a Third Baseman at Florida State University and then professionally as a Catcher for 12 seasons including parts of eight years in the major leagues with five organizations. After retiring as a player was an Advance Scout for the Blue Jays in 2012. Served as Bullpen Coach for the Indians ( 2013-2014 ) before becoming Manager of the Rays in 2015.

Bench Coach : Matt Quatraro ( 46 years old ) - Seven years as a Major League Coach. Twenty Five years in Pro Baseball, twenty one with the Rays including seventeen as a Manager, Coach or Instructor. Named Bench Coach in 2018. Served as Major League Assistant Hitting Coach with the Indians ( 2014-2017 ). Was Rays Minor League Hitting Coordinator ( 2010-2013 ). Served as Rays minor league Catching/Hitting Instructor and Manager at various levels ( 2004-2009). Played parts of seven minor league seasons with the Rays as a Catcher from 1996 to 2002 reaching Triple A before retiring and turning to coaching.

Hitting Coach : Chad Mottola ( 49 years old ) - Fourth season as Rays Major League Hitting Coach ... joined the organization in 2014 as Minor League Hitting Coordinator and remained in that role for three seasons before being promoted to big league hitting coach. Was Major League Hitting Coach for 2013 Blue Jays ... prior to that worked for Jays in Minor Leagues ( 2008 - GCL hitting coach, 2008 - roving instructor and 2009-2012 - Triple A Hitting Coach ). Played 16 professional seasons as an Outfielder including parts of five years in the Major Leagues with the Reds, Blue Jays, Marlins and Orioles.

Pitching Coach : Kyle Snyder ( 42 years old ) - Third season as a Major League Coach - named Rays PC in October, 2017 , twenty two seasons in professional baseball - nine as a coach or Instructor. Spent three seasons as Pitching Coach for Rays AAA club. His entire coaching career has been with Rays beginning in 2012 at lower levels of Minors and then as Pitching Coordinator in 2014. Pitched professionally for 11 seasons including parts of five major league years with the Royals and Red Sox. He was a teammate or Kevin Cash with the Red Sox.

28 Man Initial Playoff Roster Makeup :

Acquired in Trade : 16

Drafted or Originally Signed and Developed : 6

Free Agent Signing : 5

Waivers Acquisition : 1

21 % of the roster developed internally

57 % acquired via trade

22 % acquired via free agency/waiver claims

Tenure :

Kevin Kiermaier is longest tenured player - drafted and signed in 2010 with Blake Snell next - he was drafted and signed in 2011.

Diego Castillo signed in 2014 ... Brandon Lowe in 2015 ... Willy Adames was acquired from Tigers in 2015

Minor League Winning Culture :

2017 : System was 5th overall with a .536 winning percentage and four playoff teams including two league champions

2018 : System was 1st overall with a .591 winning percentage and five playoff teams including two league champions and two runners up

2019 : System was 1st overall with a .573 winning percentage and four playoff teams including one that reached league championship series before losing.

Major League Debuts with the Rays :

2016 : 7 - Blake Snell is the only one who remains on 40 man roster

2017 : 9 - None remain on 40 man roster

2018 : 12 - Five ( Michael Perez Ryan Yarbrough, Brandon Lowe, Diego Castillo and Willy Adames ) remain on 40 man roster

2019 : 9 - Four ( Colin Poche, Brendan McKay, Nate Lowe, Mike Brosseau) remain on 40 man roster

2020 : 2 - Shane McClanahan and Yoshi Tsutsugo

It Takes an Army ( Number of Players Used ( played in games ) on MLB Roster )

2016 : 49 ( 25 pitchers and 24 position players )

2017 : 55 ( 31 pitchers and 24 position players )

2018 : 58 ( 31 pitchers and 27 position players )

2019 : 59 ( 33 pitchers and 26 position players )

2020 : 43 ( 24 pitchers and 19 position players )

Perhaps there was some stuff ya didn’t know about the American League Champs. If so an education 🤪.

With the Phillies in search of a new GM/President of Baseball Operations I think that Bobby Heck seems intriguing ... just sayin 🧐

Also the Marlins parted ways this weekend with 49 year old Michael Hill. He also checks a lot of boxes, at least for me, in the search for a GM/President of Baseball Operations ... both were titles he held with Miami. Hill is a Harvard University graduate and served in various roles with the Marlins beginning in 2002. Prior to that he was one of the initial Tampa Rays scouts ... even before they played a game 🤔. During Hill’s time with the Marlins they signed and developed Giancarlo Stanton , Christian Yelich , Marcel Ozuna , JT Realmuto and Jose Urena. He also successfully negotiated thru the 2020 season where the team was hit hard with Covid 19 causing a scramble to field a team. They did so and even made the playoffs. I would certainly talk to him if I were the Phillies.

Will detail the Dodgers next ...

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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