David PriceLet me preface this by saying I still think the Rays should trade David Price whenever Andrew Friedman thinks he can get the best deal. But what if there was a scenario in which Price stays with the Rays through next season and everybody wins?

Follow me down the rabbit hole.

Price is making $14 million this year and is projected by many to make ~$20 million next year in arbitration. Here is the one scenario that makes sense for keeping Price until he becomes a free agent:

Sign Price to a 1-year deal for $15-16 million with $1-2 million deferred and a full no-trade clause.

Why David Price would do it.

Price gives up a few million. In exchange he gets to stay in the Bay Area for another year, he gets to keep playing for Joe Maddon and with his friends, all of which he clearly wants to do.

But most importantly, it eliminates the unknown, something he clearly does not enjoy.

He also gets to enter free agency clean. That is, there will be a clean break at the end of the season and no pressure to re-sign with a team that just gave up a bunch of prospects for him and Price is free to sign with any team he wants.

His legacy is also not tainted by 1+ seasons as a hired gun in his prime. His career is going to be defined by his time with the Rays and whichever club he signs long-term. He doesn’t want to spend one of his prime seasons with some third team that won’t be part of his legacy. There is also the danger that whatever team trades for Price will be out of the race next July and trade him again.

Why the Rays would do it.

The Rays get to keep one of the best pitchers in baseball, in his prime, at a discount. The Rays love discounts. The Rays also know they are a better team in 2015 with Price, than without.

The Rays would also not be losing Price without gaining anything in return. If Price leaves via free agency, the Rays will pick up what amounts to an extra first round pick. That is not nearly as good as 2-3 big-league ready top prospects. But one top prospect plus two shots at World Series glory may be a nice compromise.

There is reason to think this can be done.

The Rays have done this before when they did not trade Carl Crawford and let him walk via free agency.

Ultimately, both sides have to be willing to make a little sacrifice. For Price, he needs to sacrifice a few million for an extra year of stability. The Rays need to sacrifice a couple of prospects. That’s a big sacrifice by both sides. So it may not be likely or even realistic. But if you are looking for a way to keep Price, this is it.

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10 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    As they say, money talks and b.s. walks. I don't see Price (or very many other people for that matter) giving up 25% of their potential income to avoid a little ambiguity.

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  2. starmand says:

    The way I see it, a starting rotation of Cobb, Archer, Hellickson, Odorizzi and Moore/Colome/some-other-for-Price ain't nothing to sneeze at.

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  3. David Spenn says:

    Rays would then let him walk for nothing, which isn't typically the Rays Way. But hey, if that means winning a WS, then I'm all for it! A WS = the best economic situation.

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    • Joe Dunn says:

      I hope I am wrong but I just see this team in the playoffs showing up with those games that produce 3-4 hits and no runs.....like yesterday. Ugh

      Not built for a deep run yet.

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  4. Gus says:

    Did it for BJ as well.

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  5. Matt says:

    Part of that discount would be negated by the lack of state income tax in Florida compared to most places he'd be traded to.

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  6. Johnny Dejay says:

    Why don't the Rays sign Price to a long-term deal now? Give him $20-25 million a year for 6 or 7 years. The Rays can always trade him down the road if the team falls apart, but this nucleus is strong and has long-term promise.

    If Price is worth $20-25 million a year to other teams now, then they will certainly be open to trading for him down the road knowing that he has a long-term deal.

    The only risk is the balance of the contract if he underperforms or gets injured, but that's a risk with any player.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      2 reasons: 1) Price is in his peak years now and won't be 4-5 years from now; 2) The Rays succeed by having players outperform what they are being paid. They like bargains. Price at $20-25 million is not a bargain. The Rays are never going to sign an older pitcher to a long-term deal.

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  7. Ken H says:

    Very interesting proposal Cork. Makes a lot of sense for both sides. Trading an elite player for a bunch of prospects always has risk attached to it. Just look at rounds 1, 1S of the infamous 2008 draft. Check out this link: http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?year_ID=2008&round=1. 6 full years later 73% of the players made the majors and the cumulative WAR is 2.9. However take away Posey's 20.5 and the WAR of those 37 players goes down appreciably. Also note that while the Rays whiffed badly on Beckham they still managed to currently have the 32nd, 36th and 43rd picks on their 40 man roster. My point being that all 1st round prospects don't glister like gold.
    Your proposal allows Price the opportunity to open and possibly close his resume with the Rays as a world series participant. More importantly, there isn't that built in trade deadline distraction next year. I doubt it will happen as it's very late in the game but...good food for thought.

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  8. Dave L says:

    Frankly the only scenario with us keep in him beyond 2015 involve him suffering a serious injury and losing.

    Injuries or lack thereof determine every season WS contenders or WS on paper contenders who bust.

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