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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Wade Boggs urges Rays to end rebuilding cycles

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The Tampa Bay Rays are known for being a low-budget team with a penchant for drafting and developing young players before moving them on when their salaries begin to rise, which tends to put the roster in a constant state of flux. One former member of the team thinks that needs to end.

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, who played the final two seasons of his career with Tampa Bay, said he believes the team needs to form a strong nucleus of players and build around them instead of serving as a developmental organization.

“I don’t just want to keep turning it into the University of Tampa Bay, where every four years they graduate and leave,” Boggs said Saturday, via Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times. “You have to build a nucleus that the fans can sit there and relate to. I’ve said this about every team that does this — that you have to have a four- or five-guy nucleus and build around that. It’s great to have young players. It’s great to have the best minor-league system in the world. People want world championships.”

The Rays did successfully do this a decade ago, when they built around the likes of Evan Longoria and David Price to become a regular AL East contender. Those players have since moved on, and the team has been in a semi-rebuilding state since. It hasn’t been a total failure — they’re 69-61 this year — but not enough to make them postseason contenders. They’ve even traded another key part of the franchise away, so it seems unlikely that the cycle will end anytime soon.

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