Tampa Bay has had one of the more brilliant runs in baseball. Based on the allotted spending they’ve had, they’ve been a strong AL contender year after year. Their system was in-house and built through a sound farm system. Joe Madden as the manager has created a yearly cycle of success.

But as what happened with the Mariners in the late 90’s, things are starting to turn. The cycle of in-house success can only last so long. Their success never came through the area of runs produced. Timely hits was more the norm, while their strength relied on the arms of their pitchers.

Signing David Price to a long term deal is looking like it may bite the Rays. Price has been hit at a high rate this year. Before when he came to the mound he was worthy of the -160 to -185 prices as a pitcher. In fact he was one of the few aces at that price that I would consider. Thus far on the season his era is over four runs.

With four wins and five losses, his ERA has been masked by a few quality starts this season. It’s shaping out to be the beginning of a downturn in Price’s career.

This leaves the Rays with Price’s hefty contract. This season he is making over 14 million a year. Other high priced players on the Rays roster are producing below their contract value as well. Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist are both making over 7 million this season. To say they’re falling short of those contract values is an understatement.

The Rays latest four game slide at home to the Marlins might be the dagger to a season that’s not even midway through June. They are last in the AL East and 15 games behind .500.

The uphill climb is one that the Rays aren’t going to reach. Steps forward that use to come from low margin wins, are replaced by their bullpens and starting pitchers woes.

This just may be the beginning as what happened to the Seattle Mariners after a solid mid to late 90’s run.

For now put the Rays on top of your MLB best bets. They’re still an attractive price by the books, as they’ve drawn a lot of winnings for bettors over the years. The market will be a bargain likely through August. Then just pick your spots, as I see the Rays staying right where they are at. Last in the AL East.


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