For me, the model franchise for small market teams is the Tampa Bay Rays. That's probably the case for a lot of other people, and for good reason. The Rays broke out in 2008, winning 97 games and the competitive AL East. Four teams in that division won 86 or more games, yet the Rays posted one of the best records in baseball with one of the smallest payrolls. They weren't one-and-done either.
In 2009, the Rays went 84-78. They returned to the playoffs in 2010, winning the AL East with a 96-66 record. Last year they missed out on the East, but took the AL Wild Card spot with a 91-71 record.
Their opening day payroll in 2008 was $43.75 M. Their payroll jumped as high as $72.8 M in 2010, but dropped back down to the $42 M range in 2011. This year it started at $63.6 M. During this stretch t...
This content is for Pirates Prospects subscribers only. Subscribers get access to all of our daily articles on the Pirates and their minor league system, with live coverage throughout the system on a daily basis. Our lowest rates are $2.22 per month under our Top Prospect Plan, which also gets you a FREE copy of the 2016 Prospect Guide. We also have a promotion with DraftKings where you can get a FREE one-year subscription to the site by signing up as a new DraftKings customer and making a $5 minimum deposit. Subscribe today to access all of our daily coverage of the Pirates' system.
If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail email@example.com.
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.