Yesterday morning, Peter Gammons appeared on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show. Near the end of the interview, he was asked whether the Rays will feel pressured to promote David Price sooner than they planned. Gammons offered his prediction (if you have an Insider account, you can find the full interview here).
I think still May 1st was always sort of the goal.
Gammons sounded as if this was pure speculation and not based on insider information.
However, there is a problem with this prediction. Price already has 31 days of service time from last season. Once the Rays decided to keep Price in the minors to start the season, they might as well wait until they can delay his free agency clock before promoting him.
Based on our calculations, the Rays will gain an extra year before free agency if they wait until at least May 18 for Price’s promotion. A promotion on that date or after would give Price a maximum of 140 days of service time this season, and at most 171 days of service time at the end of the year. 172 days is considered a full season.
May 18 is the opening night of a home series against the Oakland A’s.
While service time may not have been a factor to start Price in the minors this season, it is silly to think it will not factor into the Rays decision if they are targeting a promotion in either May or June. If waiting two or three extra weeks, or 3-5 starts means Price will be pitching for the Rays in 2015 instead of for the Yankees, that is not being cheap. That is being smart.