It’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.