Stuart Sternberg doesn't want to place unrealistic expectations on his cost-conscious Tampa Bay Rays.
Even after an offseason in which he approved spending that boosted one of baseball's lowest payrolls by more than 50 percent, the owner is reluctant to say he'd be disappointed if the club does anything less than win enough games to make the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
That speaks more to how difficult it is to keep pace with teams that have deeper wallets than what Sternberg feels the Rays are capable of accomplishing after bolstering the offense with the addition of free agents Luke Scott and Carlos Pena and adding veteran relievers Burke Badenhop and Fernando Rodney to the bullpen.
''Our expectations are that we have a very very good team this year. Ideally you'd like to say the best team we've put out. You never really know until we go out there,'' Sternberg said Tuesday during a visit to spring training.