PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. Existing as the Tampa Bay Rays requires foresight with a healthy dose of optimism to make their challenges appear manageable.
Theyre one of the major leagues' greatest success stories since 2008, a franchise that has evolved from an American League East also-ran to a contender, but each year presents new tests of their ability to preserve this standard.
Two issues will go far in determining the Rays direction in coming years, both on the field and on their bottom line. First, there's the future of left-hander David Price, who will make 10,125,000 this season and remains under Tampa Bays control through the 2015 campaign; he's aware of both starting pitching's rising cost and the Rays limitations because of a small-market reality. Second, the future of their home in the Tampa Bay region, whether its in St. Petersburg or nearby Hillsborough County or elsewhere, despite a lease that binds them to the maligned Tropicana Field until 2027.
So it was l...