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Are David Price’s days with the Rays numbered?

Mar 2, 2013, 12:00 AM EDT

David Price AP

In a column posted at ESPN yesterday, Jayson Stark goes over some future possibilities for Rays ace and defending AL Cy Young award winner David Price. The lefty will earn just north of $10 million this season and has two more years of arbitration left in which his price tag figures to dramatically increase relative to the Rays’ smallish payroll. The Rays could try to sign him to a long-term contract extension, buying out those years in the process, but they may not be able to afford a player whose peers — Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain — have received paydays in the $125-175 million range.

The Rays currently have only $14 million committed for the 2014 season, $7.5 million of which will go to third baseman Evan Longoria, but they will have to deal with potentially eight other arbitration-eligible players and seven more can become free agents. Assuming they continue to operate with a payroll in the $50-60 million range, fitting Price in will affect the Rays’ ability to fill in other areas of the roster.

Andrew Friedman realizes that. From Stark:

“As I said at the time we signed Evan,” Friedman says, “we could sign another player to the same contract. The question is: If our resources don’t increase, then it’s going to be really difficult to compete. And at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important, is our ability to compete. We could easily afford another [contract] like it. The problem is the other 23 guys and what you have left to spend on them.”

The 27-year-old Price went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in taking home AL Cy Young honors last year and figures to be in the running for the foreseeable future. The Rays’ ability to retain his services will continue to be a hot topic as long as his future remains in question.

  1. theaxmancometh - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    No way the Rays keep him long term. He would have to give one heck of a hometown discount. If he keeps up his current production he will command a $200m contract in 2 years when he’s a free agent. My guess is the Rangers acquire him in a trade next offseason.

    • beefytrout - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:59 AM

      Rangers fans can certainly hope!

    • dan1111 - Mar 2, 2013 at 3:33 AM

      I also doubt that the Rays can afford a long-term contract, but the idea that they have to trade him away because of his arbitration salary seems absurd to me.

      “Fitting Price in will affect the Rays’ ability to fill in other areas of the roster”–huh? There is no way they would get more value by paying Price’s salary to other players. Even in his final arbitration years, they will still be paying far below market for one of baseball’s best starters.

      As long as the Rays are contending, they’re not going to trade Price to dump his salary. If they do make a trade, it will be because someone else gives up way too much for him.

      • paperlions - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        If he is making $10M this year, and has another year like last year…he should get at least $15M next year and $20M the year after. Even at $15M, which is a good deal, that represents 25-30% of the Rays total payroll….and they have a LOT of young players whose salaries will be going up over the next 2 years. He is leaving anyway, the best value they can get for him is to max out trade return, which will decrease every year.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Where does the idea of a hometown discount come from? Is David Price from Tampa?

      I loathe this phrase.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Other than Longoria, every players’ days with the Rays are numbered.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Existentially, that’s true of every player on every team.

  3. tuberippin - Mar 2, 2013 at 3:59 AM


  4. madtownthrowdown - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    We may not be the brightest down here in Florida. But what i’m thinking they are trying to say is “Build us a new stadium, and we’ll sign David Price.” Unfortunately The Ol’ Fesh just showed us what will really happen. Sign some guys then shell them out and go back to the old ways.

  5. gotampabay52 - Mar 2, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Hey Bolts Bucs and Rays are all on the move up. Trade Price for bunch of talent. One pitcher aint going to helps us going forward. Hey he better come back this year like last year

  6. deadeyedesign23 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    “We could easily afford another [contract] like it. The problem is the other 23 guys and what you have left to spend on them.”

    So you can’t afford another contract like it then. Or so you say at least. I think we all know the owners of the Rays are still making money hand over fist.

  7. djjackson81 - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    What is good for the Rays is whenever they do ship him out he will bring back three or four top tier prospects moving forward for them. Rays will win the lottery trading Price. He is that valuable.

  8. raysfan1 - Mar 2, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    18th–He’s from Murfreesboro, TN. Would you prefer “current major league team loyalty discount?”

  9. randomdigits - Mar 2, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Well good thing their share of the national TV contract jumps up by 25 million starting in 2014.

    They could just hand the difference to Price and have his current salary left to play with without reducing profits.

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