The budget-conscious Tampa Bay Rays relish the challenge of finding ways to remain competitive in the rugged AL East.
Three playoff berths and one trip to the World Series over the past five seasons speak to the type of job manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman have done despite operating within the constraints of one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
That's not easy while playing nearly half your games against the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox - teams with much deeper pockets.
''In our opinion, it's the toughest division in all of professional sports,'' said Friedman, who faced the task of replacing several key players this winter while the Blue Jays were spending generously to improve a roster that could be poised to battle to Rays, Yankees and Orioles for supremacy in the East.
''You can debate who's going to be first through fifth, but I think there's a very legitimate argument tha...