Yankees should pursue Rodriguez

Tampa Bay has some new blood in its ownership group. Plus, notes on the Super Bowl and Alex Rodriguez.

Updated: January 29, 2004, 11:28 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
New Rays?
The good news for the Devil Rays and their fans is that they have some new blood in their ownership group. The bad news is, that in spite of the fact that an angel named Stuart Sternberg has showed up with a big satchel of cash, Vince Naimoli will still be running the show. The New York Times reports that Sternberg is something of a mystery to the rest of major league baseball. He was a big wheel in the firm of Spear, Leeds and Kellogg, an options trading outfit that was bought out by Goldman Sachs.

Sternberg signed an agreement saying that in spite of the fact he now owns 77 percent of the team, Naimoli -- who owns 15 percent -- will continue to be the managing partner. How bad has Tampa Bay ownership been? Consider that they have taken a franchise that drew over 2.2 million people its first year and managed to halve that number in six seasons. Their high watermark is 69 wins. Yes, they play in a very tough division, but their expansion counterparts in Arizona already have a World Championship flag and only one losing season to show for their existence.

The Rays set the tone for things to come when they got Bobby Abreu from the Astros in the expansion draft and then proceeded to turn around and trade him for shortstop Kevin Stocker before ever having played a game. Savvy turned to silly in short order. Ironically, Abreu would have been the Rays best player in each and every year of their existence, with only one season -- 1999 -- even being debatable. Here are the Win Shares for Abreu and the highest-ranking Devil Ray from each year of their time here on earth:

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at bottlebat@gmail.com.