MLB: JUN 24 Padres at RaysMost assume that David Price will be traded and many think it will happen this winter. But according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Rays are still trying to work out a long-term deal for Price, even if it is a losing battle…

“Rays owners and executives are not resigned to this. They appear to be trying to figure out ways to make Price the focal point of their pitching staff for many years, but they know they’re losing the battle.”

If any team can find a creative way to get it done, it is the Rays. But they would also need the cooperation from Price to accept not only a less-than-market value contract, but he would probably also have to accept a deal that is heavily back-loaded. Both of those seem highly unlikely based on what Price has said in the past.

Price has repeatedly said he wants to be “appreciated” by the Rays for what he has done for the organization. He also made it clear that he feels a sense of obligation to other players to not take a discount. Price’s agent also added to the fire by saying Price “wants to have the best contract in baseball.”

So while this sounds promising, all this is doing is providing false-hope to Rays fans.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • On his podcast, Buster Olney said he expects the Dodgers to be the most aggressive team attempting to trade for David Price. If you recall, the Dodgers looked like they were already trying to court Price earlier this year. [MLBTR]
  • Michael Sasso takes a look at the Rays’ 2013 attendance. [TBO.com]
  • The Tampa Baseball Museum is looking for support and is still aiming to open next spring. [TBO.com]
  • The Bucs are a mess. [JBF]

 

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14 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    I think the team is losing leverage over Price. Perception within all of MLB is that the Rays simply cannot afford him. I think by stating that the team is trying to re-sign him in the media, the Rays are trying gain some of that leverage back.

    Stu has said that they *could* re-sign him, but also stated that it would destroy the rest of the team in the process (FA signed, salary commitments elsewhere).

    The Rays are smart and wont trade him if they know they aren’t getting the value back that they think they deserve with a Price trade. However, I can see a bunch of teams trying to low-ball the Rays, citing that they simply can’t afford him and have to get rid of him now.

    With the way Price and his camp have approached his future, it does seem that keeping him with the Rays will be hard. Listen, I love Price, but I love the Rays more and want to see them competitive. I also trust that the Org will look at this situation at every angle before making any move. Saving the payroll and slotting in a guy like Odorizzi or Colome in Price’s place wouldnt be too terrible.

    Though, Price’s leadership and competitiveness can’t go unnoticed. Granted, none of us here will really know to what extent Price’s leadership and drive have an impact on the staff now, but I dont know if anyone on the staff has that kind of personality like Price. We seemed to underplay Shield’s impact on preparation, competitiveness and one-upsmanship, yet this seems to be cited time and time again by people on the Royals and the Rays. Sitting in our position, because we can’t see the clubhouse impact, we (being the media mostly) seem to ignore this, but I do feel like this drive is what makes this pitching staff what it is. I dont know if the Rays want to lose that.

  2. Rob says:

    I can’t imagine a scenario where they sign him, and if they do pay a premium and give him a long-term deal, I think it hurts the team. I am not a big fan of long-term contracts for pitchers because there is just so much that can go wrong.

    • Dave L says:

      I think this is just sort of throwing a bone to the fanbase.

      His value in a long term deal going to a top 10 revenue club say 5 to 6+ years might eat up 1/6 of their annual player budget. Which would equal 1/3 of a typical Rays budget. Forget numbers and forget future TV money. The rising tide will lift all boats and we are still riding in the SS Minnow.

      Plus we cant afford to take a chance on long term if he craps out like you say.

      They will offer him Longo money and terms and he will turn politely turn it down. They will show him all the numbers which prove thats all they can afford and he will be fine with it no hard feelings.

  3. Ken says:

    David Price: Clubhouse and Pitching staff leader? Yes. Fan favorite and face of the Rays? A Resounding Yes. One of the best in the game? Again, Absolutely. A lock down playoff performer? Thus far no.
    When a small market club like the Rays has to consider whether or not to commit 25% or more of their payroll to a 28 year old pitcher vs trading him for a Myers type deal there is his playoff record to consider. Neither he nor Shields had much success in bringing home the bacon. Some will point to Myers and say that he too was far from clutch this year and that’s so true. But Myers has 7 years to improve, at a far cheaper contract.
    If signing Price precludes signing Loney, and gaining other cheaper pieces to continue to make the Rays a contender I’d have to step back and really think it through.
    I am a huge Price fan, and I agree that all options should be, and knowing the front office, will be considered.

    • Dave L says:

      You nailed it Ken by using correct terminology.

      We have to get people thinking in those terms to have a logical debate when constructing the Rays roster in the Hot Stove season.

      We can’t use terms like $X million. We all know the Rays have a budget in mind. We have to approach each player in term of what PERCENTAGE of that hypothetical budget he will eat up. Other teams $5M may be $9 or $14M in Rays dollars.

      Every percent player X gets leaves less money for everyone else on the roster.

      I hope we can raise the level of debate here in the 2013/14 winter with Don banished. We need to try to deal in the world of the possible and probable based on the Rays way.

      I would say $70M is my first guesstimate. Thats less than 10% higher than last year. Maybe under 70 is more likely

  4. Mike says:

    Only way this is even remotely possible would be for the team to give him some equity, and I just don’t see that happening. That, or move to Brooklyn.

  5. Gus says:

    Honestly, the Rays don’t have to do anything and as I have previously noted given his lower trade value and arb cost coming off of a down year, probably shouldn’t do anything until he pitches like David Price can pitch for the first 3 months of the 2014 season. Then see where you are.

    His velocity dips and arm injury this spring are such x factors that it is hard to judge from the outside. Clearly they dumped Kazmir after a brief month of health because the 2% crew had extended him and he then developed a bad arm, lost his velocity, etc. They kept Shields into his Free Agency period (they bought out his first two years) and you could see that kind of deal if Price wanted it.

    Pitchers are fragile beasts. I don’t blame Price for wanting to cash in while he can; I don’t blame the Rays for being very careful here.

    • Geoff Peterson says:

      Good point. Keep him to start 2014. If he excels and the Rays are struggling, trade him for a blockbuster package. If he struggles early again, keep him and see if he is then willing to work out a long term deal when we are a year closer to $20-60 mil more per year in TV money. Front of the rotation lefties are like gold and need to bring big returns.

      • Sarah says:

        It’s really a market question. They should have an idea of what they hope to get from a Price deal. If a team meets that threshold this winter, trade him now. But if they are unimpressed with the potential haul then wait until next summer.

        Of course, if next July comes around and the Rays are in a pennant race, they can’t trade Price without seriously angering their fan base. Heck, there are people still unhappy that they unloaded Kazmir when they did, even though he was so clearly broken. So that may be part of the equation: if they trade him this winter it’s done and we all move on.

  6. slacker775 says:

    No question he can be a dominant pitcher but we haven’t seen that over real stretches of time and we certainly haven’t seen it in the post season. I’m sure for a reasonable price, they org could try to keep him, but you can’t put all your eggs/$$$ in one basket that only participates once every five days. The Patriots always thought they had their franchise QB with Bledsoe and it wasn’t til he went out that Brady came in and took them to countless rings.

  7. Beazy says:

    It makes you wonder how much $ a person really needs in a lifetime, and if the Rays are just negotiating how much Price’s kid’s kids will get…

    • Cork Gaines says:

      At this level it is never about what the player needs. We are talking about competitive people. To many of these players the contracts are just as much about winning as the games. To them, how much they are paid is a reflection of how much the team appreciates them, how much the sports respects them, and in some ways it shows where they rank among other players.

      On some level that seems silly. But keep in mind, these same things go on all the time in every industry it is just not always in front of the public or with so much money. But for most people, athlete or not, if a person is better at their job than anybody else they don’t like it if other people are making more money.

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