Sternberg thinks his Rays will be better than you do

by Gary Shelton on March 30, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Sternberg thinks the Rays will be decent./CARMEN MANDATO

Sternberg thinks the Rays will be decent./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

On a clear day, you can see the scoreboard.

Stu Sternberg stands on the turf at Tropicana Field, and like many who represent the Rays, he sees blue skies and sunshine. The 2018 season is upon him and his team, and frankly, he thinks it will go over fairly well.

"If the bullpen performs well, as well as we think they're going to, I think we’ll get into the 80s in wins this year," Sternberg said. "If not, as with any team, you will be 5-10 games short of (expectations).

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Sternberg says his team doesn't have enough power./CARMEN MANDATO

Sternberg says his team doesn't have enough power./CARMEN MANDATO

"There are four teams (Houston, Boston, New York and Cleveland) are a cut above everybody. There are 4-5 teams that are going to struggle. We're in the  4-5 who will win between  82-86 wins or  72-76 wins."

The key, Sternberg said, will be defense and pitching, although the team seems to be losing pitching.

Sternberg talked before the Rays opened their season against Boston.

"I feel optimistic," Sternberg said. "I'll start with bad news. I think we're going to be at the bottom in runs scored this year in the American League, or near the bottom. We better be at the bottom in runs allowed.' Ideally those two things work themseveles out. There will be a lot of 3-2 and 4-2 nail-biters. I'm a fan of 4-2 games. I don't really like 10-8. We don't usually do good at 10-8."

The Rays will start their season with an aching rotation, however. The team at first announced a four-man rotation to start the season. It is now talking about a three-man rotation.

"We've been waiting 15 years to do it," Sternberg said. "We didn't expect it to be a three-man rotation this year. But we have the right guys in bullpen., the right starters. the right defense."

Sternberg said he liked being picked low.  "I always like under-promise, over perform," he said.

Sternberg admitted his team didn't have as much power.

"I'd like more," he said. "We have a catcher and a first baseman and a designated hitter ... we have three guys with 30 home-run potential. We're counting on them. Last year we were overpowered if you will.

"We went a little too much in the other direction. We'd like some of that power. The thing is, it's not here.  There are  5-6  guys in double digits, and three of them into the 20s. I think we're going to hit more than it might seem."

Of course, Sternberg was asked about his potential stadium in Ybor City. He says things are going as expected.

Lately, the conversation has been about how much money the Rays will commit. Although $150 million has been discussed, he said that number could go up if he got a lot of money for naming rights.

"If somebody wants to walk in with $25 million in naming rights tomorrow, my number of $150 (million) goes up dramatically," Sternberg said. "So, yeah, I'll get you to $400 (million). You get me $25 million a year in stadium naming rights and get me to $400, I'll go halfsies."

In other words, the Rays' input is still being discussed.

For now, the team is here. Sternberg expects it to be for "four or five" more opening days.




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