Last night David Price made his 13th start for the Rays and now has thrown 66 innings. Combined with his 8 starts in triple-A, Price now has 100.1 innings on his arm this season. This is significant because last year he threw only 129.1 innings and the Rays want to limit him to a 20% increase this season (155-160 ip).
With 54 games remaining in the regular season, the Rays will go through the rotation 10 more times. If Price stayed in the rotation for the last two months, and averaged 6 innings per start, he would finish the season with 160.1 innings pitched, right at his limit for the year. But what if the Rays make the playoffs?
This leaves the Rays with two options:
- The Rays can leave Price in the rotation for the rest of the regular season, knowing he is one of the 5 best starting pitchers needed or the playoff push. The problem with that scenario is Price would likely be unavailable for the playoffs, even as a relief pitcher, should the Rays win the East or the Wild Card.
- The Rays could give Price about 5 more starts and then move him to the bullpen, replacing him with Andy Sonnanstine in the rotation when rosters expand on September 1st. The downside here is the Rays would risk going without one of their five best starting pitchers for the final month of the season. The upside is the Rays get the extra bullpen arm they have been looking for and they would still have Price available for the playoffs, albeit in a relief role.
Which path will the Rays choose? If the Rays are true to their word…and this is an organization that rarely deviates from the script…we have a feeling #2 is more likely. The Rays just aren’t an organization that is willing to risk too much of the future for the chance to win in the present. We present the last two trade deadlines as exhibits 1 and 2.
Also keep in mind that Price in the bullpen is a known commodity…
King David. It was he who was the favored son despite being the youngest and it was his late appearance (in game 7 of the ALCS) and ability to defeat Goliath that led the Rays over the heavily favored and steroid-ridden Philistines (Red Sox).