The Tampa Bay Rays have signed ace starting pitcher, David Price, to a one-year deal worth $14 million to avoid arbitration. This is the biggest single season salary in Rays history, passing Carlos Peña’s $10.25 million in 2010. This is a very interesting update in the Price story this offseason, as it was widely expected that the team would trade away their ace to free up some space in their budget.
After this move, it seems as though the Rays could be sticking with Price for the 2014 season. If a deal were to be made, it likely would not come until after January 24, which is deadline for teams to reach an agreement with Japanese star pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka. Any of the teams that had expressed interest in Tanaka may still be looking for a quality starting pitcher and could attempt a deal with the Rays.
Price has made it very clear that he likes playing for the Rays and would like to stay with the organization, if possible. When asked about staying with the team, the pitcher said, “I want to be part of it, I think they’re going to have, we’re going to have, a really good season this year. So I would love to see what would happen, and hopefully I’m there for the duration of it.” The Rays would also love to keep a pitcher as strong as Price in their rotation, but know that he will be out of their price range in 2015 when he becomes a free agent. Not to mention the fact that Price’s new deal makes up almost 20% of the team’s payroll for this season.
If Price is not dealt this offseason, there is still no guarantee that he will finish the 2014 season in Tampa Bay. There is a decent chance that the team would trade away Price at the trade deadline, depending on the circumstances. The Rays would not only have to consider the deals being offered, but also where they stand in the AL East midway through the season. If it seems like the Rays are having an amazing season, and there is a chance of playing deep into October, the team would be crazy to trade away the ace of their staff. However, if they find themselves far behind the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox or the three other potentially dangerous clubs in their division, we may see Price traded away.
It will be interesting to see how the Price situation plays out, whether it be in the next couple of months or in late July. If the Rays decide to deal their star pitcher, they should make sure that they are getting plenty in return. Regardless of his salary, Price makes this team a whole lot stronger, and will most likely be a crucial piece of making a World Series run.