David PriceIt’s kind of amazing if you think about it.

We are now six seasons into this amazing run by the Tampa Bay Rays during which they have averaged 92 wins and made the playoffs four times, and yet there are many people, especially those outside of the Bay Area, that still don’t know how the Rays operate.

When it came to trading David Price this winter, most assumed the Rays would do it because he was too expensive. In fact, many felt the Rays had to trade Price.

They were all wrong.

Trading David Price was never about saving money. Trading David Price is about selling high and maximizing the balance between the production he has given the team and the return he can command in a trade.

If the Rays are unable to maximize the return now, they will wait until July and try again. If it doesn’t happen then, they will try again next winter. If it doesn’t happen then, they will just keep Price until he hits free agency, just as they did with Carl Crawford.

Proof of this comes now with the Rays showing interest in AJ Burnett, according to Peter Gammons.

Burnett will likely command a deal worth $13-15 million per year. If he were willing to accept a one-year deal, he would be a great fit for the Rays if they do indeed trade Price.

The Rays would not save any money in 2014. But they would save on payroll in 2015.

Also, think of it this way. Would you rather have Price at $14 million or Burnett, two top prospects, a couple of younger prospects, and maybe a utility guy, for $15 million?

If all was fair, we’d all prefer to keep Price in a Rays uniform forever. But if he has to go, that’s not a bad way to go, and the Rays would still be a World Series contender.

The Rays prefer to save money. But decisions are never made just to save money. They are made to maximize value. That’s why Price is still a member of the Rays.

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14 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    I know this is pie in the sky, but is there ANY chance that the Rays are interested in adding Burnett and keeping Price? Payroll would be crazy high, but what a staff!!

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Actually I can. But yes, it is a longshot. I can see a case where Jeremy Hellickson gets traded and Burnett is added. The problem is I can't see Burnett being added unless another starter is traded. The Rays would absolutely be better with Burnett instead of Hellickson, but is he that much better that he is worth the extra cost? Probably not.

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      • Gus says:

        Jermey Burnett is a huge question mark; I've seen his prior work as a Rays opponent in the AL East and was not something I'm thrilled about. He's a head case, and I think assuming he'd be an upgrade over Hellickson at this point in their careers is a mistake. I actually look for Hellickson to have a bounce back year, similar to Shields after his mini-disaster in 2011.

        In any event, the last place this franchise should spend any spare nickels is in starting pitching. We've got 3-4 guys who could be MLB ready as starters right now. The deepest part of the organization.

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  2. Jordan says:

    Burnett has not proven he can pitch in the AL East, which is why the Rays will pay no more than 9 million for him.

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    • Dave L says:

      Yeah how'd that work last time?

      I'd take my chances with a cheap Helli over an expensive Burnett who was contemplating retiring. So now he come back to the division where he was lit up when he was younger?

      His ERA+ his last 2 years in NY were 82 and 83, Hellis last 2 were 124 and 74.

      So we pay $15M vs $0.5M for that?

      No thanks. If Price goes we need a warm body for sure if you are going to give him $10M+ that's rolling the dice, Id rather look at other options.

      I'll bet you a Kayem hot dog that if both pitch in the AL East, Jeremy will have a better 2015.

      Better stay in Pittsburgh if you want to have a good final year..

      The crafty AF is just driving up the O's price heheh

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    • Alex says:

      It's funny how quickly people forget that he only pitched for the Yankees for three years. Guess what team he pitched for before he played for the Yankees? The Blue Jays. Another AL East team. He did pretty well there. He just didn't like pitching in New York. He had 4 decent/good years in the AL East. He had 2 bad years.

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      • Dave L says:

        Yes during his prime years 29 to 32 including his first year as a Yank which was good, I will give you that.

        But just think, what in the Rays recent history makes you think that the Rays would/should suddenly sink say 10-14% of their carefully crafted 2014 payroll on a 37 yo pitcher who was strongly considering retirement?

        Price staying I would give it a zero percent chance.

        Price traded........there have to be better options, right?

        Imagine the questionable AJ Burnett as suddenly the highest paid player on the Rays?

        I can't sorry.

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        • Alex says:

          I never said I wanted him. I'm merely pointing out the flaws in both of your arguments.

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          • Dave L says:

            Alright Alex im not trying to be argumentative as well.

            I am just trying to clarify.

            My whole analysis was based on whether or not the Rays should hire him to pitch in 2014. Not whether or not he was once good. He was. Unquestionably.

            When I speak of Rays rosters going forward I am always speaking in the context of what he can do for us.

            I am pleased to hear you aren't calling for his services

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  3. Dave L says:

    Yes it was never about saving money.

    I like to think of it this way.

    We traded 2 years of James Shields (and however many of W Davis who was pretty highly paid middle reliever that could be replaced cheaper) for 18 combined years of Wil Myers, Odorizzi and Montgomery.

    So the trade off with keeping him in 2014 is that we are only offering one year of a half-price Price instead of 2 years. So we kinda eliminate the Royals type trading partners. So then you are down to rich teams that will and can lock him up long term immediately with an extension and we get less booty in return possibly.

    If we crap out before the trading deadline that is when he will have maximum value in 2014 and we can get the most in return from someone who thinks he can win them a WS in 2014.

    Next offseason we will be lucky to get Sheilds like return value with out an instant extension by a rich team.

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  4. Geoff Peterson says:

    I still have a feeling after a stadium deal gets signed and that new luxury box and TV money rolls in, they find a way to keep Price. Standing pat makes the most sense this year with so many issues involving money still up in the air. I agree that Helly has a bounce back year and the staff is as good or better than last year. The bullpen may not be as good as we may think and I still wonder where left hand power hitting will come from, especially if Joyce is only a platoon DH.

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  5. Berdj Joseph Rassam says:

    Interesting take on Price. If the Rays are about seriously pursuing the World Series now, they will keep Price. If they are about dollars and cents, they will trade him.

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  6. Dave L says:

    I was wrong.

    But then again we will never know what offers they turned down so its impossible to judge.

    The positive factors working in the TRADE camp were the Yanks winning Tanaka which freed up our natural trading partners not in the AL east to make us a deal. And everybody getting a boost in Nat'l TV money which juiced the market for the few players available not under contract

    The positive factors working to KEEP Price (for now) were signing Loney which i did predict and generally getting some other pieces which the Rays targeted including Hanigan and finally a bargain priced value in Balfour falling down our chimney and dusting the ashes off his deep blue Rays jersey sealed the deal.

    This is the Rays version of 'all-in' although they would never say it.

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