We’ve been waiting all season to finally hear this: David Price is officially on the block.
The Tampa Bay Rays are quickly free-falling out of contention, and it makes little sense to hold onto the team’s best asset, one they cannot afford to re-sign when he hits free agency. Now, sources tell MLB.com that the Rays are officially “willing to listen to discussions about Price.”
The word is that, at this juncture, the Rays are willing to listen to discussions about Price, because, well, why not? Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has shown a shrewd understanding in the past that players are assets with an expiration date, particularly in a market in which payroll must be closely monitored. Friedman knew he was pushing the payroll limits by keeping Price, who is eligible for free agency after next season, for $14 million this year. But he believed in the composition of this club. And back in the dead of winter, there was little reason not to be on board with that belief.
Now, the equation has changed. Tampa Bay has to dangle Price, if for no other reason than to get another gauge on his market value before the offseason.
Tampa is 25-42 as of June 13, and 13.5 games back on first place in the American League East. And with contenders like the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and defending champion Boston Red Sox, the chances of the Rays making a run are getting slimmer by the day.
Price owns a 3.97 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and a 110:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but the Rays cannot provide him with any sort of run support and, consequently, have lost 13 of their past 14 games. Price is arbitration-eligible for 2015 and officially a free agent the year after.
MLB.com suggests the Oakland A’s could have an interest in dealing for Price. The team is making a run at the AL West, and adding Price increases their chances at the World Series. Another team mentioned in connection with Price is the Seattle Mariners, who need to sure up their rotation.
The Rays will be seeking minor league depth in exchange for Price, but that’s where the situation gets tricky. Teams reportedly are becoming reluctant to deal their young prospects for an ace, or simply don’t have enough to swing a trade.