by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg arrived at the team's Spring Training complex in Port Charlotte Tuesday, ready to see what his 2014 squad can do.
"It just felt like at the end of last year we had some things that we had still yet to accomplish with this group of guys," Sternberg said while watching pitchers throw their bullpen session, "and we're trying to do as much as we can to give them an opportunity to succeed."
Part of giving the team that opportunity was increasing payroll to height the franchise has never seen to re-sign first baseman James Loney and bring in closer Grant Balfour.
"I'm pretty certain that had we stayed lower down, specifically if we had a different option at first base, and a different option at the back of the bullpen, we would have been closer to where we anticipated," Sternberg explained. "We would have had to find somebody else to play first base somehow, and we would have filled in the bullpen with the very capable pitchers that we have."
As for the issue of trying to procure a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, Sternberg said there was still no news to report, but said he expects to talk with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman "soon."
"We've been at this for eight years basically," Sternberg explained. "I'm a little numb to it, but I do think things will be different [with Kriseman]."
Sternberg also gave his thoughts on keeping pitcher David Price long-term, ticket sales, and whether he's read the book that has spawned the "Eat Last" mantra.
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