David Price

Playing A Little Pepper

The latest from the Rays is that they are less likely to trade David Price as long as the team continues to play well. The problem is, as well as the Rays are playing, it is probably still not good enough.

Right now, the Rays are closer to first place in the East (9.0 games back) than the Wild Card (9.5 games back). If the Orioles go just 39-38 in their final 77 games, they’ll finish with 85 wins. The Rays would have to go 46-27 just to tie. That’s the equivalent of playing like a 102-win team for nearly half of a season.

More realistically, the Rays will need to reach 90 wins. To do that, they will have to go 51-22, or the equivalent of a 113-win team. Even as well as the Rays have played, their record over the last four weeks (15-8) is still just the equivalent of a 106-win team. And that is just 23 games. The Rays would have to pick up the pace and keep it up for 77 games.

Impossible? Certainly not. But Baseball Prospectus still gives the Rays just a 3.6% chance of making the playoffs.

This is why the Rays are were having talks with the A’s about a trade even as the team was playing better and will have talks with other teams. Ultimately, unless the Rays can suddenly run of a 10-1 or 15-3 run, the chances of trading Price is still more dependent on what other teams are offering than how well the team is playing.

Game Graph

[Will be up at game time]

Source: FanGraphs


  1. Flash Jennings, CF
  2. Ben Zobrist, SS
  3. Matt Joyce, DH
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Brandon Guyer, LF
  7. Logan Forsythe, 2B
  8. Ryan Hanigan, C
  9. Kevin Kiermaier, RF
  10. David Price, SP




  1. zenny says:

    Yeah, the talk about keeping David is all about wishful thinking and negotiating leverage. If they get a good enough offer, Andy F. and company will make the deal.

    The thing is, trading Price is a very damaging PR move even if they raid somebody's entire farm system in return. Casual fans (which are in the majority) will be furious off if/when the Rays trade a guy who is the clear co-face of the franchise. Attendance will stay weak, and media numbers will undoubtedly drop sharply, which is not good with a new TV contract coming up soon. And unless the team starts to seriously contend again next year, local support for a new stadium will take a hit because people might not think that the ownership is in it for the long haul.

    Just something to keep in mind...

  2. PoliticalMan says:

    This really depends on if you believe this is a 90 win team and if you believe in regression or not. Playing as a 113 win team over the course of a half a season is not uncommon as actual 113 win teams are.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I agree, to an extent. But how often do 90-win teams play 15-games under .500 in the first half (as the Rays did) and then 33-games over .500 in the second half? That's not "regression." That's a genetic makeover of unheard proportions. That's not a normal "regression" expectation and anybody that understands statistics knows that.

      Could it happen? Sure. Is it likely to happen? No. If it did it would be an outlier, an exception to the rule, a special case, not a "oh, we should have known things would even out!"

      It is rare to play like a 116-win team one half. Of the few that do, how many played like a 64-win team the other half? Good luck finding more than one or two in more than 110 years of big league ball.

      Teams don't do that very often. And to think it is possible is thinking AGAINST probabilities and "regression" not an example of what to expect

  3. Joe Dunn says:

    I agree - - - - telling the league that you want to KEEP Price can only help the Rays in making a deal. The lack of hitting against a terrific pitcher on Thursday night was, to me, a preview of the first round of the (potential) playoffs. At the same time, not many lineups we have faces are unable to hit OUR best pitchers.

  4. David Spenn says:

    "I agree, to an extent. But how often do 90-win teams play 15-games under .500 in the first half (as the Rays did) and then 33-games over .500 in the second half? That’s not “regression.” That’s a genetic makeover of unheard proportions. That’s not a normal “regression” expectation and anybody that understands statistics knows that."

    When healthy, the Rays have the talent of at least a 90 win team, and IF everything is clicking 100 plus win team. It's true, no team has ever made the playoffs being as many games back as the Rays were. Granted, there hasn't always been a wild card let alone two. I think because of the extra wild card and the division having a down year there is definitely still a shot to contend for a playoff spot.

    Ideally, it's the division, since you'd likely have to run the table as the Rays did last year to get into to the postseason with a road play-in game in likely LA or OAK then turnaround on a short series again on the road.against a division champ. We're looking too much on record rather than pace. Perhaps the pace even gets even slower as teams press, and contending teams play one another down the stretch. The Rays have to maintain the same pace as the Orioles and pick-up nine games or whatever it is in the loss column (Balt still has four games to make-up) by the end of the September. No small feat, but the Rays do play the Orioles seven more times with the possibility of picking up games to the O's. The main difference right now is that the Orioles swept the Rays the first two series to begin the year when the Rays were struggling. Akin to the Red Sox winning the season series last year and that being the main difference. As long as the Rays continue to win series I think the Rays have a shot to gain further ground the next couple weeks looking at both team's schedules with Baltimore playing a tough National team for four, closing it out against the Yankees who may throw Kuroda, McCarthy, Tannaka at them and then a long west coast swing to start their second half. The Orioles still play the Mariners seven times, which will help the Rays either way, as well as other teams ahead of them facing-off vs. one another. The Rays take care of business they will gain ground on at least one team per day and will catch more and more teams by the tail.

    I still think the Rays have the best starting staff in the majors, and the bullpen and defense is starting to play really well. The thing is, if the rays continue to get solid pitching they won't need to sustain a high level of offense and can grind out 2-1, 3-2 games over the majority of teams. The crazy thing is, the Rays have made this run without arguably their best hitters: Loney, Longo, and the absence of Myers. If the offense continues to roll like it has of late with solid pitching from their starting staff, this team can definitely make a magical run to win the division. You can see the confidence starting to mount.

    Go Rays, time for a little "Tampa Strip" tonight against the DT's.

  5. Gus says:

    a few observations on the Price situation:

    #1 -- every start you roll him out there is another risk of injury and having a mini-disaster on your hands

    #2 -- he still has trade value in 2015 -- the only thing you've done is limit your market from 15 teams or so to six or so (those who can sign him long-term). His arb # is going to be high enough next year that teams like KC are probably going to be spooked off anyway.

    #3 -- the "thread the needle" comment Friedman made yesterday was interesting -- use Price trade to help cure this year's teams faults on offense and rebuild the farm; this is why Hellickson is starting Tuesday -- they need to see what they have there (early signs are not encouraging), but you can seem them making the case to the clubhouse that Hellickson is taking DP's starts and we've helped this year's team offensively --- just enough to give Maddon a narrative.

    #4 -- credit to Price for being much smarter on 0-2 counts the last couple of starts -- not trying to outmacho every batter helps him a ton.

    #5 the AL East implosion is something to behold; definitely complicates things, but this is the same org that traded Scott Kazmir on Labor Day weekend while only 3.5 games out of the wild card and being defending AL Champs.

    #6 The team is better when Zobrist is the shortstop -- always has been. Stop thinking too hard -- dump Escobar in the Price deal and bring back some quality young IF help. Zobrist not needed in a crowded OF with Myers, the Outlaw, Joyce, Jennongs and DeJesus.

  6. Pat says:

    Hellickson can be slotted, but would anyone be surprised if the bullpen has to pony up early, and often? He kind of gives me the quivers much like that fellow with the fake/new name last year . . .

    • Gus says:

      The whole question is which Hellickson shows up -- the sore-armed fellow of 2013 or the ROY from 2010.

  7. David Spenn says:

    "but you can seem them making the case to the clubhouse that Hellickson is taking DP’s starts and we’ve helped this year’s team offensively — just enough to give Maddon a narrative."

    Cobb would be your number one guy. Helly is taking Bedard's spot. I would bring Colome up but he needs to work on his control. Colome has Cy Young potential, albeit from the right side.

    The Kazmir deal wasn't a surprise. The Rays like to control pitchers arms and Kaz had already pitched a ton by 2009, and had lost velocity and control .


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