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David Price: “I’ve never been as good as I am right now, period.”

Jun 26, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Getty Images

David Price dominated the Pirates yesterday. Then he stated a simple fact:

“I’ve never been as good as I am right now, period. Not in 2012, not in college, not in high school. This is the best pitcher I’ve ever been. I feel in complete control on the mound at all times.”

Hubris? Perhaps. It’s rare that you hear a ballplayer talking about himself like that, but it’s hard to argue with Price. He’s the first pitcher in more than a decade to strike out ten or more hitters in five straight starts. While his record is not stellar and his ERA sits at 3.63 due to some early rocky starts, he has a K/BB ratio of 144/14 over 124 innings. If he keeps that up — unlikely, but go with me here — it’d be the best such ratio ever.

Price’s confidence and dominance could not be coming at a better time for the Rays, who are shopping him. And who should land a nice haul for their ace lefty.

  1. RickyB - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    Freddie Freeman, anyone?

    • eshine76 - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      Freddie said that in confidence at Chipper’s house and Chipper yapped to a bunch of reporters.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      It will take more than Freeman to get him; you’ll need to give a pitcher back, too. And, eat part of Freeman’s contract. Or else, non-Freeman younger players, again, especially pitchers.

  2. eshine76 - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    He’s probably saying it so GMs say – “he’s right” and quit messing aroung with BS offers the Rays aren’t going to accept. Like any player, he wants this trade talk over.

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      Seems to me more likely that Price was sincerely responding to a reporter’s question. That’s how he felt at that moment. No need to attribute some more complicated motive to him.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        The motive is NOT complicated…

        It’s MONEY…

  3. 18thstreet - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    If this was an action movie, David Price would be asking to be hit in the shoulder by the RPG.

  4. indaburg - Jun 26, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    It’s not bragging if it’s true. That K/BB ratio is ridiculous. He’s hardly walking anyone. That’s complete control on the mound.

    I wouldn’t call it hubris. Excessive pride to me is “I’m the greatest of all time” or “I’m the best pitcher alive”–that is, elevating himself above others. He’s saying this is the best he’s ever been, his personal best. He’s comparing himself to himself (“Not in 2012, not in college, not in high school, this is the best pitcher I’ve ever been”), not others.

    • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      I look forward to Price and Taveras being team mates.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        Ditto, of course. Now, the question is, how bad is Miller’s back and how much does that skunk up the trade works, assuming he’s part of talks.

      • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        I really think any trade for Price will probably come down to the deadline (or close to it). The only way the Rays do a deal earlier is if they are completely blown away by an offer….otherwise, they may as well field offers from as many teams as possible to maximize their return. There is no reason for them to be in a hurry to trade him.

      • indaburg - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        How is that possible with Taveras coming to Tampa Bay?

      • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        I don’t think Taveras is going anywhere. The Cardinals don’t have a lot of power bats in the organization and they need offense way more than pitching….but they have a lot of young pitching depth, even with all the injuries. They just haven’t been an organization that 1) weakens a weakness to strengthen a strength or 2) mortgages the future for this year.

        It could happen, but it would be out of character. I actually don’t think they’ll trade for Price, but they have the pieces to do it without including Taveras.

      • indaburg - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        They would be mortgaging some of the future for this year and next year. Price is still under contract next year.

        Taveras and a couple of decent prospects for Price and Zobrist. You need a second baseman…

      • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        The Cardinal’s lineup is already getting old. There is no replacement for what Taveras can do at the plate. Plus, the Rays won’t pick up any money….paying for Price and Zobrist twice is something I wouldn’t expect Mo to do. Price and Zobrist would cost $27M next year and over $10M for the rest of this year….paying for them in dollars and top prospects is a very high price for a relatively small increase in the odds of winning a WS 2014/2015 while decreasing their chances of doing so in 2016 and beyond.

      • indaburg - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        The Rays might pick up some money for a deal like that. Adding an ace pitcher like Price and adding some solid, multi-positional defense like Zobrist instantly significantly improves the Cardinals today and next year. The Cardinals have a deep, proven farm system and method–the real “Cardinals Way.” The trade wouldn’t hurt their future that much. C’mon… do it… do it…

      • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        Oh, yeah, it would significantly improve the club, but that does NOT significantly improve their odds of winning the WS. It might give them a 1-2% bump in odds of winning assuming they make the playoffs.

        They playoffs are a crapshoot, they would help the Cardinals make it, but have barely any effect on the odds of winning the WS…..of course, getting to the playoffs is 1/2 the battle.

        I just don’t want to see Taveras go….we never get these kinds of prospects because we don’t ever draft in the top 1/2 of the 1st.

      • indaburg - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        You’re barely in right now as the 2nd Wild Card. Of course, it’s a long season. A lot can happen, and getting there is half the battle, as you said.

        Your team has done fantastic even without that top kind of prospect, but I hear you. You have to give up something good to get something good. It’s why I hate making trades in my fantasy team.

      • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        Yes, in baseball you don’t trade players you trade contracts. Cheap talent is worth more than expensive talent….I doubt the Rays will pick up any money of note, if they could afford that….they would just keep Price.

        Without Price, the Cardinals pitching staff has been the best in baseball. Yeah, some guys are hurt, but others are close to coming back and other still are close to being MLB ready.

        IMO, the need for Price isn’t worth giving up Taveras, who is really needed now. The club would just as good with Craig on the bench and Taveras in RF as it would be with Craig in RF and Price added to the staff….and that is this year. If the future, the club will be far better with Taveras as an everyday RF than with anything they get from Price….because, again, they already are chock full of good-to-great pitchers.

      • indaburg - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        Ah, but the old adage–you can never have too much pitching. You think you do, and next thing you know, UCL surgery spreading like it’s the Spanish influenza.

        The Rays may pick up some money for a sweet enough deal as an investment in the future. That’s our model. Cheap, young talent we can control for awhile, then trade them before they get very expensive while they still have value for cheap young talent. Repeat.

        I’m sure Mozeliak and Friedman are paying close attention to our opinions. :-)

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        @Inda … No, unless Wong’s shoulder is in the same shape as Jaime Garcia’s, we don’t “need” a 2B.

        We also don’t need one who’s about to plunge off the typical aging cliff for 2B. Nor do we need a Rays IF who is somewhat overrated on D because Tampa started shifting so much earlier than anybody else.

        Any other thoughts?

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        @Inda … in detail, Zobrist will be 34 next year. Joe Morgan and Lou Whitaker are about the only regular 2B who’s had significant gas in the tank at 35 and beyond in the last 30 years. (I don’t totally count Biggio because of all of his OF years.)

        Ryno? Last OPS+ of 100 at 33. Robby Alomar? 33. Jeff Kent? Was above 100 OPS+ but never topped 140 games a year after 33. Randolph? Had an outlier year at 36, but missed nearly 40 games. Grich? With one league-average exception at 36, right at 100, also an outlier, ditto on him.

        So, uh, no! Would he be better on D at 3B than Carpenter if he got moved back to 2B? Maybe, maybe not. But, as a 2B, his best days are behind him indeed.

      • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        To add to that, I still have great confidence in Wong as a player. He’s 22 with a bruised shoulder. He’ll be fine. He has great value in the field and on the bases and all evidence suggests that his bat will be fine, few Ks, some BBs, lots of hard line drives with upward of 9-10 HR/year possible.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        Exactly, Lions. He’s a decade younger than Zobrist, and also adds some well-needed speed.

        Beyond Price at the right price, if he is a “need,” what the Cards need is:

        1. Healthy pitchers.
        2. OFs to hit.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        @Inda, a comment on “windows.” The Rays have until next spring training to move Price. (Teams that aren’t sure they can re-sign him won’t trade after then, because they can’t do a QO on him if they don’t get him until after Opening Day, of course.)

        If the Rays try to overplay their demands on an in-season trade, they’re going to be left very much holding the bag.

        You and other Rays fans can accept that, or not. But it doesn’t change that fact if you don’t accept it.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      It’s still bragging. And the first thing I think is…
      “who are you trying to impress? Me, or you”?

      • indaburg - Jun 26, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        I think he was just answering a question. This is the best he’s ever felt as a pitcher. His numbers speak for themselves and confirm that. This is the most control he’s ever had.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        If he was simply answering a question it’s a completely different situation. Context (of course)…makes a world of difference. I just don’t like braggarts. Never have. But again, if the dude is just answering a question it’s a totally different take in this particular instance.

  5. thepittsburghkid - Jun 26, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    I really hope the Pirates put their cheap hat in the ring, they have the prospects and budget for a true number 1 starter.

  6. thebadguyswon - Jun 26, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    If you’re right, and he is, then there’s nothing wrong with it.

  7. shockgee - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Whatever. He’s still an arrogant dick.

    • stex52 - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Yeah, and I’d take him on my team in a heartbeat.

      But it’s okay. He is the only great player out there who also has an attitude, so we can save our hate for him. Oh, wait………….

  8. henryd3rd - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Let me get this straight. He’s 6-7 with an average ERA and only 2 complete games and he feels he’s as great as ever? SMH!!!! But having said that some GM will pony up players and or draft picks before the trading deadline.

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      “only 2 complete games” — otherwise known as “tied for second in the American League with 2 complete games so far”

      More broadly, using pitcher’s W-L record, ERA and CG total is not how one should evaluate a starting pitcher over a 12-week time period.

    • stex52 - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      He also has pitched 124 innings, has a FIP of 2.99, a WHIP of 1.08 and is averaging over 10 K’s per nine innings. And his run support has been pathetic.

      And two complete games is bad? Twenty MLB teams (Total teams) have two or fewer.

      Yeah, GM’s will look at all of that. And they will pony up.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        They’ll pony up within reason. They’ll not overpay. The Rays have nine months left on the realistic trade clock, overall, before the offers get lowball. In-season 2015, teams that aren’t sure of resigning him won’t pay for a rental of less than one full season without being able to make the QO and get a draft choice, at least.

      • stex52 - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        True enough. I was directing my comment more at selective use of faulty statistics. And some teams need that ace really badly.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Right. For Cards, Miller/Taveras plus, say, Reyes, is as high as we go. Marco Gonzales is almost surely off the table. That said, Miller’s back complicates all of this, at least in the short term.

      • kycardsfan - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        No way they trade Miller AND Taveras.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        KY, probably not; that would be a high price indeed, despite what Rays nutters like Inda think. But, I’d never say never.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      I hope you are trolling with the 6-7 record thing

    • paperlions - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Let me get this straight, you think W-L record and ERA are an effective way to evaluate pitchers?

      SMH.

  9. deedee2die4 - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Hubris? No, he’s advertising his goods. Is Ca$hman listening?

    • nbjays - Jun 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      I’d be very surprised if the Rays trade him within the division.

  10. twinfan24 - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    His SO/BB ratio is crazy. But, he is also giving up the highest rate of hits and HR per 9 innings in his career, and his highest ERA since his rookie season. It makes me think he is throwing more strikes to drive up his strikeout/walk ratio to have something to bring up at the bargaining table. Regardless of the W-L record, having his highest ERA in 5 seasons will surely give some teams at least a little something to be concerned about. That said, he would help any and every team, but that ERA make affect the return slightly.

    • gatorprof - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      Exactly. There is more to being a good pitcher than just having a large number of Ks and a small number of BBs. His ERA+ is slightly above average. A quality start percentage of 65 isn’t all that great either.

      That being said, he will still be highly sought after, but clearly isn’t amongst the top pitchers in the AL.

  11. musketmaniac - Jun 26, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    He pitched very well yesterday. The pirates would more than likely send a starter pitcher back to Tampa bay plus prospects. Price, Liriano, Cole, Locke, Morton/ Volquez/ Worley/Cumpton. Although Liriano gave us a no. 1 performance and Cole looks like a future No. 1. Neither are performing like that this year. with the bats coming to life he would be a huge push.

  12. tmc602014 - Jun 26, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Forgive my ignorance but what does SMH mean?

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