The tea leaves aren’t hard to read. David Price will be traded sometime this winter the only question will be to where and for what.
Price himself expects to be traded telling Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times: “If you go with what’s been done in the past, I guess you’re going to have to think you’re going to get traded,” Price said. “That’s kind of the way it’s happened with this organization when pitchers kind of get to this period in their career. We’ve seen it happen a couple of times already. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know what’s happened in the past.”
The Rays have played this game before in the past dealing Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, and James Shields with multiple years of control remaining but increased financial obligation along with the years of control.
Last winter Price signed a 1-year contract to avoid arbitration paying him $10.1125 million with $4 million dollars deferred to 2014. The arbitration system is set up to all but ensure that he receives a boost in salary for the 2014 season to somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 million. If we choose to apply the $4 million deferred salary to his expected salary he will be making somewhere close to $17 million in 2014.
The Rays paying a single player, even someone the caliber of David Price, 25% of their clubs payroll doesn’t seem to fit the Rays way of doing business.
During the Rays end of season press conferences manager Joe Maddon said “it’s never an inviting thought to think that David’s not going to be with you, but we’re faced with a lot of this stuff on an annual basis. It’s part of who we are here – we understand that. I’m hoping it would turn out differently and he’d be able to play here but I don’t know how that’s going to play out. Players like David Price you always want to have on your side.”
Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said that the organization doesn’t comment on what ifs “but it’s easy to talk about what he means to this organization, what he’s done for it, and the success that we’ve had that he’s been a really large part of – but with any player that we have it’s not helpful for us to comment on what ifs”
His overall numbers aren’t overly impressive as he posted a record of 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA he was much better after returning from the disabled list.
From June 2 to the end of the season he made 18 starts and went 9-4 with a 2.33 ERA (37 ER/131.2 IP) while striking out 102 batters and walking 13.
There will be quite a few teams lining up to acquire Price and Andrew Friedman will be looking for a large return. Whether we like it David Price will not be reporting with the club to Port Charlotte – just par for the course for the Rays way.