Tampa Bay Rays Will Do "Everything They Can" to Keep Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IFebruary 22, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 10:  Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays trots home against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on August 10, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

So says owner Stuart Sternberg: The team will do everything they can to keep free-agents-to-be Carl Crawford and also Carlos Pena for as long as they can. On Crawford specifically he said: "He's been a face of this organization, he's been a great Ray, he was a great Devil Ray, he's an extraordinary player and teammate, for the community and a face of this team. We're going to do everything we can to make sure he stays here longer.''

That's all well and good to say in public, but realistically, everyone knows that the writing is on the wall. It's extremely doubtful that the Rays will be able to keep both guys.

Assuming that both guys perform as expected (30+ HR for Pena, 50+ SB, .300 average for Crawford), then it's very possible that the 2011 salaries for Pena and Crawford combined could be between $20-$30 million dollars (probably closer to $30 million). For the Rays, this presents a problem because their total team payroll will probably be somewhere in the $60 million dollar range next season. Obviously, it's not realistic for the Rays to commit such an enormous amount of their resources to two players.

There's always the chance that Crawford and Pena accept less to stay in Tampa, but that's a scenario that I highly doubt will happen. At best, maybe the Rays will be able to keep one of the two.

But given the Rays' payroll limitations and arbitration raises to guys like B. J. Upton, Matt Garza, and Jason Bartlett, even that possibility is hard to imagine.