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Sternberg would add payroll at Trade Deadline

Sternberg would add payroll at Trade Deadline

ST. PETERSBURG -- Stu Sternberg addressed the media prior to Tuesday night's game, and the Rays' principal owner's message was clear: The Rays are going for it.

In the past, Sternberg has stressed the importance of a franchise such as the Rays being true to their payroll and budget in order for the team to survive.

"We're well beyond stretched [in regards to payroll]," Sternberg said. "This, for me personally, is a very special year. It's a special team, can be a special team, and we're going to do whatever we can and whatever is necessary to try and give us the best opportunity to win this year."

Sternberg's statement brought the natural follow-up question: "So there could be a payroll addition?"

To which he answered, "Yeah."

Further discussion brought the question of whether he would be willing to say the Rays would consider making a "significant" addition.

"By any means necessary," Sternberg said. "We'll do whatever. Money won't be an object. Players are always an object for us and the money will be an impediment, but we'll figure it out if it makes all the sense in the world for this team."

When a reporter mentioned to Sternberg that his message should be pretty well received in the community, Sternberg noted that in his mind the message that was conveyed came during the past offseason.

"We made a commitment to just completely obliterate our budget," Sternberg said. "And we're going to do what we can with one very large eye on the future, to do what we can."

The reality that the Red Sox and Yankees are always looking to improve at all costs prior to the Trade Deadline is a "part of our hard drive," according to Sternberg.

"We know that's there," Sternberg said. "But quite frankly, in another division, even this year, we're still going to try and do our best to put the best team we can out there.

"If crazy things had lined up and we were way out in front of both of these teams, we'd still be out here trying to do what we can to give ourselves the best opportunity. You'd look a little differently. You'd be more concerned about the postseason as opposed to making the postseason. But our eye is really on making the postseason."

Despite all of the promise Rays fans could draw from the words of the team owner on Tuesday, he was frank about the status of left fielder Carl Crawford, who is in the final year of his contract with the team and will likely be one of the most attractive free agents on the market after the season. When asked if the Rays will be able to keep Crawford, Sternberg said: "Remains to be seen. It will be difficult."

-- Bill Chastain

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