Rays Are Used To Big Splashes In AL East
The entirety of the Rays spectrum, from fans to the front office and everyone in between, knows just how dominant Gerrit Cole can be.
Everyone got to see him dominate the Rays in the American League Division Series allowing just one earned run in 15.2-innings spanning a pair of victories while striking out 25 and walking three.
On Tuesday night the Yankees signed him to a nine year $324MM contract (pending physical). To see him end up in the American League East with the Division rival New York Yankees is a tough pill to swallow, but Rays Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Erik Neander provided some levity saying, ” We’re not going to see him two out of every five games. So there will be some relief as to how the season ended.”
Neander has been around long enough to know that the American League East will be home to some of the larger contracts in baseball with two big spending teams in the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox competing against each other.
“We’re not going to lose any sleep over it. If it’s not him its somebody else and that’s just the way it is.” Neander said of the Yankees signing of Cole. “Really it’s not a productive use of our time to get too stressed over it. We just have to stay within our means and make sure we’re on top of our own business and really at the end of the day that’s all we can control with our approach and our efforts.”
Neander was complimentary to the big market Yankees and Boston saying that while the names change, “the budgets, the aggressiveness, the demands and the expectations that clubs like New York and Boston and those teams have it’s a constant.”
He added that while “Rosters turnover names change but the standards that they have and the lengths that they will go to make there team as competitive as possible, that’s just part of competing in this division.”
The Yankees open their season on March 26th in Baltimore against the Orioles then travel to Tampa Bay for a three games series before they return home for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 2nd.
If the Yankees choose to start Cole in Baltimore to open the season his next start would be at Tropicana Field. If the Yankees choose to start him their second game he’ll miss the Rays series and pitch the home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.