It is becoming more and more clear as the season progresses that the Tampa Bay Rays will not still be playing when October rolls around. It has been a season full of injuries and disappointments, which has left the Rays without much hope of moving forward. What this means is that the front office needs to do everything that it can to make sure that next season goes very differently than this season. This most likely means that the Rays will make the most of the fact that they have one of the most desirable starting pitchers in the major leagues.
Although David Price has not quite played to the standards that we are used to seeing out of the 28-year-old ace, he has been improving as the season has progressed. Price has a 5-7 record with an ERA of 3.81, and an MLB-leading 133 strikeouts on the season. His best season came in 2012, when he won the American League Cy Young award after posting a 20-5 record with a 2.56 ERA. The lefty is also signed on through the 2015 season, which means that whatever team trades for him will acquire his services for a season and a half.
Given the fact that the Rays have been pretty much counted out of contending for a playoff spot this season, and that they are known as a low-budget team, chances are that Price will be dealt before the July 31 deadline. The former Cy Young winner is a very desirable commodity, and there is no doubt that plenty of teams would love to get a chance to have the ace in their starting rotations for the next season and a half. Price could help a team that may otherwise be just outside of the playoff picture become strong enough to make a serious run in October.
It is being reported that the Rays would rather deal Price to a National League team, and would almost certainly not trade him to an AL East rival. As of now, the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be the favorite to scoop up Price in the next month or so. This would give the Dodgers one of the most intimidating starting rotations in the MLB. Price would join Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, and Josh Beckett in a rotation that could tear up postseason opponents. This dream rotation would feature three former Cy Young winners (Greinke in 2009, Price in 2012, and Kershaw in 2011 and 2013).
In addition to the Dodgers, there has also been interest drawn from the St. Louis Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants, the Atlanta Braves, the Miami Marlins, the Los Angeles Angels, the Oakland Athletics, and the Cleveland Indians. All of these teams are good enough as it is to make a push for the playoffs, but the addition of Price could be the extra boost that they need to make a run for a championship season.
At this point, the question does not appear to be if the Rays will trade Price, but rather when and to whom. It is a shame that the Rays are not having the season that they had hoped for, but the best thing that they can do is make a trade that will help them invest in winning in 2015 and beyond.
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