Rangers 3, Rays 0

Rangers 3, Rays 0

For those still holding out hope that David Price will sign a long-term deal, thus keeping him from being traded sometime in the next 12-18 months, they point to how much Price loves playing for the Rays. The hope is that his affection for the team, his teammates, and the area will convince him to accept less-than-market value to stay with the Rays long-term.

But while Price may want to do that, it is also unrealistic. And in an interview with Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, Price explains why

“[Even though I love being with the Rays] I don’t want to sell myself short. I don’t want to mess up for the future of other guys that could be in my position as well. That’s something you have to look out for. We are a brotherhood as MLB players. We don’t want to set the bar at some point, when somebody could get higher, and then it kind of sets the bar for the future. You don’t want to do that, because that’s not only affecting you, that affects everybody else. I want to be happy. I don’t want to sell myself short. I guess ‘appreciation’ is the word I could use the most. I just want to feel appreciated.”

I have long said that there are limits to the mythical “hometown discount.” If one team is offering Price a 7-year, $200 million contract (not unrealistic), he might only turn that down to stay with the Rays if they are at least in the same neighborhood. He is not going to turn down $200 million if the Rays are just offering $100 million. It doesn’t matter how much you love being somewhere, you don’t turn down that difference in money.

And the secondary point is something that Price hints at: The players’ union just wouldn’t allow it. The union wants all players to make as much as possible. But that is even more important for the top-tier players who set the bars. Price’s free agent contract is not just impacting how much money he will make, but it impacts hundreds of players that will negotiate deals after him.

Finally, Price (indirectly) points out another fallacy of fans’ reactions to large contracts. The argument goes like this: “Can’t he live just as well on $100 million or $150 million?” or “Isn’t the right situation more important than an extra $50 million?”

When the top-tier players are shooting for the moon and trying to get the largest contract possible, in many ways it is no longer about the actual money. Price says he wants to feel “appreciated.” Players want to be respected. And being paid an amount that, in comparison to how much other players make, is reflective of how important that player is, is very important to players. Hell, it is important to everybody. If you are doing more work than the person in the cubicle next to you, but they are making more, that will bother you. And it doesn’t matter if you think your salary is already fair.

I always laugh when I hear somebody say they would play baseball for free. Sure, you might do that for a little while. But at some point, you are going to see how much the owners are making and how much other players around you are making, and you will want your cut.

And we are also talking about people who are highly competitive by nature. And how their contracts stack up next to other players is just another way in which these guys compete.

Price wants to be “appreciated.” And no team will ever appreciate him more than the Rays. But the Rays just can’t afford to give him the appreciation he needs and deserves.



  1. Mike M says:

    It’s all so true… sad… but true! Let’s just hope we take another shot or two at the WS while we still have him!

  2. Dave L says:

    This is what I have been saying all along. The idea that we missed the boat on signing DP to any contract is silly.

    We never had a chance to begin with.

    His quote could have been written by his or any agent and has been drilled into player’s heads by all agents from they moment they sign up with one.

    Longo was an outlier due to injuries and having an agent who is probably an outlier among sports agents plus Longo himself is not sure of his own long term health.

    There is a good possibility we have ZERO chance of signing Wonderboy as well so dont get your tit in a wringer when it never happens.

  3. Don says:

    Price wins 20 games (his best) anyone who replaces him in the Rays origanization wins 10-12 maybe 15, so is a pitcher who might win 5-8 more games under an ideal situation worth 20+mil?..Trade him tomorrow for a couple of hitters and a couple of Myres(prospects)..let the big boys pay Him and let price pitch “under the lights” where he belongs,Rays fans got him when he was learning…Now move on…

  4. CC says:

    If the pay scale for MLB keeps increasing at the rate it is. They are going to price the average fan right out of the sport. They are almost there now. This is why without a great amount of “corporate” support teams like the Rays will have to trade their talent and hope the prospects turn into good players. Baseball at one time was a very inexpensive game to attend. You could sit in the lower level box seats, have a couple of beers and it would NOT cost you 2 days pay. Now compare that to a top tier player who makes $100,000 per game. The fan to player income ratio is growing out of control. But hey, as long as the players feel that they are “appreciated”.

  5. Sarah says:

    I don’t know why anyone would assume Price would give the Rays a discount. Sure, he’s happy here and has done well, but Price is a gifted athlete and seems to be a social guy who will easily feel at home wherever he goes.

  6. lightningbuc says:

    I’m with you CC. Salaries for top tier starting pitchers are approaching $1 million per start. To me, if the Rays are going to spend big money on a player, I’d rather they do it on someone who will play every day. I know it won’t happen because the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets, etc control baseball, but this sport needs a salary cap BAD!

  7. Joe says:

    Hey Rays, this is the price of doing business, pardon the pun. If the Rays don’t like it, or if Stu doesn’t like it, get the heck out of Tampa Bay. Get the heck out of baseball. Big money is a fact. I am sick of the 2%. I know it was discussed with the Morse deal and his $6.75 million, but Price at $20 million is a bargain! That’s right, I said it, a bargain. And if the Rays don’t have the ability to sign that type of player at that value, then leave the industry and go back to New York. There is no reason the Rays can’t hover around $80-90 million on their 25 man roster, and I stand by that. Instead, we here how chumpish we are and how we have to live and hope on James freaking Loney. So, with one year of Price, we are going to double down with James Loney? How logical is that? You can’t play the either or game, sometimes you just have to swallow it, accept it and gulp, PAY IT. I know what lightningbuc and CC are saying, but these are the rates. And the elephant in the room is the massive tv contracts and the local tv contract that is about to be signed where the Rays can get tens of millions more regardless of how many fans come into their seats.

    Just sick of people nationally, i.e. the Mitch Williams and the Ken Rosenthals who flagrantly disrespect Tampa Bay and their fans and the situation while speaking out of both sides of their mouth. And I blame Stu for it.

    You think we can win, let alone break even in a David Price trade? Heck no!! This is why you sign him, regardless of the cost. If Longoria can be paid at $16.67 million, you can go for more with Price and/or pay near that AAV (average annual value). I am just tired of these people who talk about the 2% and feel the Rays can do no wrong.

    • CC says:

      Joe, the point Im making is that the financial aspect of the fans income ratio to cost of going to a game is out of control. Not only here in Tampa Bay but everywhere. Its just not affordable to the average fan in any city unless you want to sit in the upper deck. I get the fact that the TV money is now astronomical. So why not make the seats,concessions etc cheaper?

      • Joe says:

        Now you are talking CC, you are thinking like me. This is why it’s all fouled up. The Rays are trying to control the dialogue and the nature of the conversation, which is why the conversation I mentioned above isn’t really approved now. How about I was to tell you the Rays could offer Price a 4-5 year extension at $80-120 million and it the effect on game prices is marginal at best? The Rays could do that, regardless of what they may say. This is the gist of the problem, its all revenue driven and the fans, the folks like you and me are priced out, pardon the pun. It makes me sick, but Topkin doesn’t want to hurt Stu. The stadium debate and the location debate are crutches for what the REAL problem is, that the Rays make a lot of money.

  8. Miguel Grande says:

    Pay the man or let him walk. Better yet, the Rays should sell to an owner who can really afford a team.

  9. Nick says:

    I’m not sure I understand the “appreciation” angle. Do we “appreciate” David less than the Yankees or Sox when we fiascally cannot do what they do? Ask ARod how “appreciated” he is in New York..

    • Cork Gaines says:

      This is just a guess, but based on the tone of his comment, I think he means “appreciate” differently than what you or I would mean. I think he really means “respect.” And i think you could make an argument that the Yankees showed “respect” (probably too much) when they gave ARod the last contract. But yeah, he’s not getting a lot of appreciation right now.

      • Nick says:

        Understood. However, if only 4-5 teams can “respect” you, I feel like we are losing the meaning of these words. I also understand Price has a skill-set that is valued at the 150-200M range, but saying he has to take the big contract to set the market for some up and coming little leaguer in 2023 just seems a little disingenious.

  10. Adam W says:

    This used to be one of the most frustrating things about sports for me until last year.

    I’m good at what I do, but it came to light at my job that I was the lowest paid person in my field there. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t better than every person there, but I was definitely above average. So I asked for a raise, and I didn’t get it. This made me feel disrespected, as if the company was saying “You’re not worth paying more for this job.” So I started putting out feelers and ended up leaving for another job with a > 50% raise.

    Now this job isn’t quite as easy, and the commute is further, but it is nice to be paid something that feels proportional to my ability. I can understand now how David Price (and other athletes) would feel the same way.

  11. Nick says:

    Couldn’t Longoria have been a $200M player? Chose to stay at a discount. Player’s Union yet to file a grievance.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      It’s hard to compare this to Longoria because he did something nobody had done before and nobody was really sure what to make of it. His first deal was obviously very team friendly, but the players’ union cant tell a player making minimum salary that he cant take a guaranteed contract even if it was well-below market value. And in his latest deal, he had his hands tied because of the first deal. He still had four years left on the first deal. So considering his lack of leverage, most think he did pretty well to get the deal he did.

      That being said, I’m guessing that since we haven’t seen too many similar deals to Longo’s first one, that the union has warned players about doing them.

  12. Alex says:

    Price is full of crap on this one. The Mariners are working on a deal to keep Felix Hernandez in Seattle for around 140-160 million. Jered Weaver 5 yr, 85 million. Verlander 5 yr, 80 million.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Yes, Price is not getting $150-200 million if he signs a deal before becoming a free agency (Weaver and Verlander were not free agents). It’s the back-end of a long-term deal the Rays can’t afford. Weaver’s contract builds up to $20 million per year at the end. And Verlander’s deal covers three free agency years and he’ll make $60 million in those three years on a deal he signed three years ago. If Verlander was doing that deal in today’s market, he’s making $25 million per year in those free agency years.

      • Alex says:

        Yea but the point is he wouldn’t have to hit free agency and he could sign a team friendly deal without all the malarkey he is spewing about hurting his fellow players chances. By the time they get to the end of the deal with David (the hypothetical 3-5 year deal lets say), wouldn’t the Rays be negotiating a new tv contract? Also aren’t they getting even more money from MLB’s tv deal soon?

      • Alex says:

        Verlander would easily get $200 million if he were a free agent. I was just pointing out that great pitchers can sign deals before free agency that aren’t going to hurt the market

  13. Dave says:

    Basically the Rays are going to spend from now until the last day of his contract trying to find out which team will give up the farm system for him.

  14. Beth says:

    I don’t get the hostility expressed by some of you either toward the Rays for not putting forward the huge contract needed to extend Price, nor toward Price for not being willing to earn millions less than he could just to remain a Ray.

    The Rays can’t afford the chance that they’d owe $20 million a year to a 33 year pitcher with a bad elbow or sore shoulder.

    Price wants to test the market and see what sort of contract he can get. The Rays/Tampa Bay aren’t all that special. He’s been successful and injury-free (knock on wood). Why should he give up $50 million or so just to stay here?

    Enjoy him while he’s here and stop griping!

  15. Dave L says:

    Appreciate is player speak for Money a term (developed by agents) and reinforced by older players. This is all ball players.

    Don’t take it out on Price. As Sarah said he doesn’t owe us anything. His ‘hometown’ is in Tennessee.

    And dont idealize and romanticize the Longo deal. He did it for his own selfish reason’s of which ‘Rays fan appreciation’ was Reason #2375 if a reason at all.

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