Rays President of Operations Matt Silverman Shifting Roles

Tampa Bay Devil Rays owner Stuart Sternberg (left), Andrew Friedman, Gerry Hunsicker and Matt Silverman meet the media at a press conference November 3, 2005 at Tropicana Field. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays owner Stuart Sternberg (left), Andrew Friedman, Gerry Hunsicker and Matt Silverman meet the media at a press conference November 3, 2005 at Tropicana Field. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

After three years as President of Baseball Operations of the Tampa Bay Rays, Matt Silverman is shifting back his role away from the day-to-day baseball activities to focus on longer term administrative issues.

Although there has been no announcement from the team, however, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Matt Silverman will step away from his current position as Rays President of Baseball Operations. According to the report, Silverman will share Ray’s team presidency roles with Brian Auld with specific responsibilities and duties still uncertain.

After the departure of Andrew Friedman to the Los Angeles Dodgers three years ago, Silverman took on role as President of Baseball Operations, which essentially was running the day-to-day operations.

For the first two years in this role, Silverman not only hired Kevin Cash to replace Joe Maddon as manager, but he also put his stamp on the team – essentially making it his own as he handled all the trades and major day-to-day operations of the team until making a change after the 2016 season.

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It was at this time that Silverman said he “planned to focus on longer-term and bigger-picture issues.” With this, Silverman elevated the roles of Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom into a more important leadership role by promoting them as Senior Vice Presidents. Additionally Neander would also have the title as General Manager.

Silverman though would continue to handle any long-range arrangements, while Neander and Bloom would handle the day-to-day operations, trades and most anything related to running the team.

Making the move back to the administrative side is Silverman’s forte and it could not have come at a better time than right now as the Rays have some important pending decisions to make.

Just last week, Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Hillsborough County Officials made a decision on a site for a new ballpark, which they presented to the Rays. The presentation went before Rays President Brian Auld.

Auld along with other team officials have been working will Hillsborough County Officials for the past year and half to come up with a site. The decision is now in the hands of the Rays to consider Hillsborough’s offer versus the choices that are available in Pinellas County.

Having Silverman at his side, would give the Rays another voice and given Silverman’s forte with numbers could be essential if the site is determined to be acceptable.

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Besides the stadium issue, is working on a new television deal. Currently, the Rays are working on an expired deal, which pays them $20 million from Sun Sports, despite have high ratings. Getting more television revenue will/could enable the Rays to spend more money on salaries and acquiring a top free agent.

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg in April in an interview with Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times said the Rays are working on a new deal, but will not have one in place until 2019.

"The Rays are “working on” a new TV deal but won’t have one in place until 2019 at the earliest. “That’s another one of the challenges we have in front of us,” he said. “It could be months, it could be years.” – Rays owner Stuart Sternberg"

Again, with Silverman at Auld’s side, it could possibly expedite getting a new network deal and the sooner a new deal can be reached, which the Rays would certainly benefit from. While the Rays rarely talk about their network contract, FanGraphs.com in April 2016 provided the estimated television revenues for all MLB teams – and the Rays were dead last.

When Friedman ran the day-to-day operations, the Rays contended except for his last season (2014) yes, there were questionable moves (trades etc.) but, nowhere as questionable as those under Silverman were.  I will follow this article up with the trade history of Silverman.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Candidates for the 2018 Rotation

Although Silverman may have made done some good, in my opinion, he was never cutout for the position as President of Baseball Operations as he had always been on the administrative side of things since joining the organization in 2004 and becoming President of the Rays in 2005.