In an important move to ensure continued success, the Tampa Bay Rays signed GM Erik Neander to a multi-year contract in a move that went under the radar nationally. The 38-year old Neander will also become the President of Baseball Operations.
Neander took over as the Tampa Bay Ray’s number one baseball executive in 2018, and since that time, has led the Rays to 316 wins. Only the Dodgers and the Astros have had more in that period. The Ryas have also been in the post-season all three years with Neander at the helm.
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Neander has taken quite the journey with the Rays to get into this position. He started as an intern by driving team officials around town. He was brought on board full-time in 2007andhasneverlookedback.
Neander became VP of baseball operations in 2014 after Andrew Friedman’s exit. In 2016, he became General Manager, and a year later was the top baseball executive in Tampa.
Neander has undoubtedly had his opportunities to go elsewhere but said on a zoom call that everything he wants and needs is right here in Tampa:
“All of the reasons that I initially wanted to work in baseball, I have them here. Me and my family are well taken care of. This place is like family to me. And we’ve been able to win. We can talk about all the other stuff we want. But we’ve done a pretty good job of winning games here. And that’s important.”
Under Neander’s watch, the Rays have made some very unpopular trades (Evan Longoria, Blake Snell), but he has also built the Rays farm system into the best in baseball.
Neander looks to be in Tampa for the foreseeable future and continues to work to get that World Series ring:
“It’s a blast to work here. I feel like there’s a lot of unfinished business. We’ve been lucky to win a lot of games, but we haven’t won the games that ultimately matter most. And that’s something we’re still going to chase.”
One could make a great argument that this is the best job that Neander has done in putting a competitive team on the field. The Rays have had more injuries than any other team in baseball and continue to be competitive. The Rays currently have the best record in the American League at 89-53.