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DRays Bay Interviews Rays Baseball Operations Assistant Erik Neander

The SB Nation Tampa Bay Rays community DRays Bay is just outstanding.  It gives Rays fans unparalleled access and coverage of the team.  They keep this up with a great interview with baseball operations assistant Erik Neander today.

Here's a little teaser to whet your appetite:

R.J.: Everyone makes a big hoopla about team chemistry, but how good is the rapport amongst the front office?

E.N.: It's great.  We get along incredibly well, especially considering the amount of time we spend working side by side.  It's a very positive environment with a high level of accountability.  There's strong communication and trust within the organization, and that's critical to our operation as we all have to step into the batter's box together; there aren't any individual showdowns.   

R.J.: When deciding to have B.J. Upton play shallow, to what degree was the team conscious of balancing the subtraction of on-base percentage points even in light of potentially increasing slugging percentage?

E.N.: Balancing extra bases against outs is a key concept when determining how to best position defenders.  We attempt to account for a variety of factors, but ultimately, any recommended positioning has to fit with a fielder's abilities relative to the demands of the position he's playing.