David PriceJayson Stark of ESPN.com has a long piece looking at the trade market for David Price. Among the many angles covered is this important nugget that often goes overlooked:

“And technically, the Rays also can afford to pay Price over the next two years if they choose to, although it would force them to make sacrifices in other areas.”

Remember, while Carl Crawford was under a long-term contract and did not make as much money as Price will make, the Rays did not trade their All-Star left fielder even though everybody said they would and more importantly everybody said the Rays had to.

The fact is, the Rays don’t have to trade anybody, even Price. And if the Rays don’t think the offers are big enough, they won’t trade Price. End of story.

Teams and agents surveyed by Stark speculate that Price will make $30-37 million in the next two seasons if he goes through the arbitration process. He is projected to make $13.1 million in 2014 which suggests he would make $17-24 million in 2015. However, it is unrealistic to think he would jump from $13 million to $24 million, so $17-20 million is more realistic.

As Stark notes, when a player like Scott Kazmir is making $22 million over the next two years, suddenly $30-33 million for Price seems like a steal.

Of course, the Rays would prefer not to pay one player that much when the overall payroll would only be $65-75 million. But it can be done.

Like all teams, the Rays will pocket an extra $25 million this season through the new national television contracts. While that won’t help in free agency (all teams have more money), it does give the payroll more flexibility and there is less pressure to trade a player like Price.

In addition, clubs have told Stark that the Rays would actually get a better trade package if they waited until the deadline to move Price. However, Joe Maddon told the media yesterday that the Rays are less likely to trade Price during the season.

In the meantime, Andrew Friedman will remain patient and wait for teams to come to him as he always does:

“One thing about Andrew is, he never acts like he has to do something,” said one of the executives quoted earlier. “And that’s because he never does. … They’re always trying to win, but they never have to win. Not the way the Yankees have to win, or the Dodgers haveto win, or the Red Sox have to win. They don’t have to, because they’re never expected to. They win 90 every year, but people never act like they’re supposed to…So he’s in a great spot. He will work it until he gets the very best deal he can make.”

In the end, nobody is going to be surprised if the Rays trade Price. But at the same time, we shouldn’t be surprised if Price is pitching for the Rays on opening day.

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5 Comments

  1. ljk says:

    I can't wait to see what they get for him.

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  2. Giles Dowden says:

    If the Mariners are not offering Walker, I don't see any reason to trade Price. Price-Cobb-Moore-Archer could be a "World Series Good" rotation in 2014.

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  3. Dave L says:

    CBS Sports has a pretty good webpage for tracking Free Agents

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions/free-agents

    You can sort them too. Anybody have any other sites to recommend?

    They include players with club options which is useful as some are declined. Interestingly Shields was rated as the highest ranked pitcher. It also allows you to see the relative values. Zobrist is probably getting only half of what his value would be on the open market.

    Also Fausto was ranked 15th out of the 30 SP remaining available. Niemann was somehow left off the list.

    There was never any question whether we could afford Price in 2014-15. And like Zobrist we are getting an elite player at roughly half his value on the open market.

    But he will no doubt walk scott free in 2016 and we get nada.

    We traded 2 years of cut rate Sheilds (and Davis who was paid his value) for roughly 6 years each of Myers, Odorizzi and Mike M who we hope to get at least 5 years of good value and another 5 of great value total at a cost of about what James and WD cost us for 2 years.

    So its 2 years of Price for 18 to 20 years of .........??????

    I'm as excited as LJK to see who it will be

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    • Greg says:

      I thought everybody used MLBTR for all player movement. Doesn't get any better. I think Cork occasionally writes over there.

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  4. Joe says:

    Again, the Rays don't act big league. If you like the guy, PAY HIM! Stop with the LIES about what your payroll can be. Pay Price up and go to $80 million and LOVE DOING IT!! Stop complaining about the price of doing business and accept what the industry is instead of complaining about it! Sometimes, you just can't skimp. David Price is a one in a decade type of talent and you get a Cy Young Award out of him! Why all of this excitement to get rid of him?! Where is the logic in that?!

    All of these networks act like the Rays exist to FEED other teams! I am SICK of it, and its the Rays' fault they let that perception happen. Stop letting players you want get raided and make a dang statement!! Put your foot down for once and pay up and be big league. Sometimes you can't get $8million of production for $2 million. Life doesn't work like that!

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