Future of the Rays? Price-less.

Tampa Bay Rays clockCan you feel it, Rays fans?

You know it’s coming; your clock is starting to tick louder and louder.

It’s bad enough you have to live with the fact that your stadium, your attendance figures, your payroll and your team’s offensive production are the laughing stock of the majors but now it’s only a matter of time before your best pitcher, David Price, gets auctioned off to the highest bidder, leaving you to begin a new, rather unfortunate era of Price-less Rays baseball.

It’s a shame really.

It’s a shame that David Price will soon be wearing another uniform.  It’s a shame that smaller market teams ultimately get out-priced by teams that can afford to pay players their (likely overstated) market value.  But that’s the way of the world.  It might build character for the fans that get shat upon but it still sucks to see a player leave a place he was brought up and where he probably wants to stay simply because they can’t afford to pay him.  It’s no wonder staying with one team for an entire career is the exception rather than the rule.

price-cy-youngOver his career, David Price has won 75 games for the Tampa Bay Rays.  He won the 2012 Cy Young award and finished second in Cy Young voting in 2010.  He’s been the Rays’ number one guy for quite some time.  He’s the only Rays pitcher to notch a 20-win season and he ranks behind only James Shields in career victories in the uniform.

Ironically, Shields now pitches in Kansas City for the very same reason Price won’t be doing so in Tampa for much longer: they couldn’t afford him.

Starting pitching is and has always been at a premium in the major leagues.  There are a number of teams out there that would make Price a far wealthier man than he already is.  Tampa Bay is just not one of them.

Price is currently making $14 million a year.  That’s nearly twice as much as face of the franchise, Evan Longoria.  That’s also more than the rest of the starting staff combined.  Something is going to have to give.  So brace yourselves if you haven’t already.

archer moore cobbWith all that said, I’m here to talk Rays fans off the ledge.  Losing Price will suck but it won’t be the end of the world.  The rest of the starting rotation is young but solid.  Chris Archer just signed a contract this off-season so he’ll be around for a while.  Matt Moore is also locked up.  Alex Cobb isn’t yet but trading Price will allow them to pay Cobb (and others) some well-deserved money.  (FYI, Cobb is currently making $517,000.)  With the revenue restrictions facing this team, there simply isn’t room on this roster for Price, who will demand more than the $14 million next year despite his subpar 4-6 season.

With the Rays boasting the worst record in the Majors (currently 17 games below .500), the trade rumors involving Price are about to become deafening.  In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if ownership has already been entertaining offers.  As much as they’d love to keep him, that’s the way the cookie crumbles and as much as Price might be dedicated to this franchise, it’s unrealistic to assume he wouldn’t leave for greener pa$ture$, not to mention a team that will finally give him some run support. Why wouldn’t he?  This relationship just isn’t working out for him.

David PriceAnd so it continues: lifestyles of the poor and infamous.  Rays fans are once again left to ponder whether it’s better to have cheered and lost than never to have cheered at all, like the guy who’s lucky enough to be in a relationship with a great-looking girl, just knowing that eventually, she’s gonna leave him for a better offer because he can’t give her what she needs.

Rays fans should be used to this by now and shouldn’t dwell too long on the break-up.  There are plenty of other Rays in the sea.  Losing Crawford, Upton and Shields thickened their skin.  Besides, Price’s market value is as high as it’s going to get, meaning ownership should be able to plot teams together to garner some good, young talent in return.

And they still have solid pitching.  They just won’t have that one guy.  That’s because those ‘one guys’ have to get paid and the Rays simply can’t afford it.

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14 Replies to “Future of the Rays? Price-less.”

  1. Sooooo you’re saying that it sucks to be a Ray’s fan?

    Well I didn’t need to read all that to confirm that basic truth.

    On the other hand the weather sucks in Boston, New York ain’t so friendly and LA LA Land isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    So they have more coin to spend… you golf in shorts in February

    And at least you’re not in Miami crying alongside LeBoner…

  2. Rays fans worst fears, Tree, would be if Price went to the pinstripes. They’ll certainly be major players in the Price-off and he would solidify that rotation in an instant.

    Most everyone thought the Rays would at least be contenders this season. Vegas even had them as slight favorites to win the division.

    Clearly that was not money well spent.

  3. As long as the Rays play in the Tampa Bay area this is what the fans will get. I’ve got to hand it to the owners, in my opinion they’ve done as much as humanly possible to put up a viable team over the last few years and yet this is what the fans will get… The other day I saw where there was a problem in Hartford Connecticut with the voters as the city fathers are trying to get a downtown baseball park built and I immediately thought… The Rays! They want the Rays! And wouldn’t that be something to plunk this team down right between the Red Sox and Yankees! But alas, the Hartford people were going to the mats over a minor league ballpark that would only seat like 12,000 fans. Then I was absolutely floored when the estimated cost was going to be $60 million! WOW! I’d be willing to wager I could get a 40,000 seat ballpark built for that! It might not be pretty but the fans would have major league baseball!

    Anyway, I consider the Rays my American League team. I’m a lifelong Giants fan and I’d love to see David in the Orange and Black but I know the Giants built their team by trading away much of what the Rays want, great minor leaguers that can’t demand much pay yet. I continually wish the Rays well, but like you point out, trading Price for young talent was always going to happen thanks to the team being mired in the Tampa Bay area… BTW, I’ve heard the Rays want 3 top minor leaguers for Price and I’m not sure who even has 3 top minor leaguers that hasn’t been a doormat team over the last few seasons in order to get such players in the first place and they’ve probably been a doormat team for the very same reason that the Rays struggle, so they can’t afford to pay Price either! It will be interesting to see where this very likeable and talented young man ends up and the Rays’ M.O. will continue until that lease runs out in St. Petersburg. I guess the real question to come out of all of this is: Where will the Rays move to?

  4. Equally frustrating is seeing a big market team grow old, crumble and die right before your eyes when after winning but one championship they lack the balls to do anything but keep the same lineup…who continues to refrain from hitting balls thrown their way while also increasing their propensity to toss poorly thrown balls to opposing hitters. Philadelphia’s huge contracts of their fading stars means they have painted themselves into a corner which is truly becoming embarrassing. Pray Philly GM Amaro doesn’t wind up in Tampa Bay after he’s finally fired…which probably won’t take place for another year or two unless a team in the NL Least takes off. The Rays had a really nice run and, in their situation, got as many good seasons in a row as could legitimately be expected.

  5. Dwin…

    The idealist in me firmly believes the Rays won’t leave the bay area and that there will be enough support to move them to the more populated side of the bay.

    That being said, the stadium won’t fund itself and ownership will need some sort of warm and fuzzy that the new location will be able to bring in fans.

    Seattle withstanding, picking up and moving a franchise ain’t as easy as it might seem. With the economy the way it’s been, it’s not like a franchise can just pick and relocate without a firm promise of long-term benefit.

    Regarding Price, you raise a valid point. Who has that much young talent they’re willing to move just to land a number one starter?

    I’m sure they’re out there but it might take a team desperate to win a pennant now and willing to mortgage their future to do so.

    Again, all we can do as fans is hope those making the decisions make the right ones.

  6. Noll and Gwynn were both legends among their respective sports.

    Noll symbolized winning and leadership in Pittsburgh and Gwynn (and Boggs alike) were among the best hitters we ever saw.

    The Spurs, Al, well, they whipped some ass to the surprise of all of us who didn’t think they could.

  7. Burnsy…

    Keep in mind the Rays even had Vegas fooled.

    Despite the big money coming out of New York and Boston, the Rays were still a slight favorite to win that division meaning Vegas REALLY thought they would.

    The season’s far from over but hmmmm, it’ll be a tough climb and it might only be a matter of time before Price is offered to the highest bidder.

  8. Tampa Bay has a baseball team?
    Does Wade Boggs still play there?

    Shields left for the big city and bright lights of KC?
    What’d they do, throw in free BBQ for his entire immediate family?

    Price will most likely end up a Yankee, Red Soc or Dodger.
    I’m hoping for the latter.

    Sorry for your pain…At least you still have those powerhouse Bucs.

  9. I’m glad you brought that up, Bleed. And for the record, I still plan on doing that Lakers project with you. I’ve just been working my tail off lately.

    But I had another idea for a post.

    The Rays have that stupid marker out in left centerfield where Wade Boggs hit his 3000th hit.

    Now, while 3000 hits is quite the career accomplishment, at that point, the Rays were a side show. They signed Boggs to sell tickets.

    Keep in mind this is a guy synonymous with one division rival and who won a World Series with another. I can still picture the turncoat riding around Yankee Stadium on a friggin’ horse. Who does that?

    So this is one of the organization’s finest moments?

    I say take that shit down and be taken seriously on your own merit.

    Okay, my rant is over…. I think.

  10. The Rays are spinning their wheels and heading nowhere at present .

    Noll and Gwynn were class acts . Unfortunately , Tony Gwynn’s death from cancer of the salivary gland could have been avoided . Guess all that chewing of tobacco over the course his career was to his detriment ?

    Will there be a ” Decision 2.0 ” concerning LBJ and the Heat ?

  11. I’d really like to see the Rays get a consistent bat, Al. Longoria, who is usually pretty steady, is having a horrible year. In fact, I’m not sure who on that team is having a good one. Like I said, it’s probably only a matter of time before this team makes moves. The only problem is they don’t have that much payroll to make moves with.

    I think, in the end, Al, the Redskins will just go ahead and change their name to avoid dealing with it all. And of course, they won’t admit they were ever wrong at all.

  12. If it happens, this is the front office to make that trade. The Rays have been great at developing and drafting young pitching talent, and there are more arms around. If not, they can acquire the right ones in a deal for Price. Then again, the pitching staff had a great June, as I highlighted recently at http://thewifehatessports.com, and you never know. The AL East is winnable and perhaps this team can go on a run. There’s still time, but the issue is, the trade deadline is just weeks away, so the Price decision needs to be made sooner rather than later.

    I’ll say this, the rest of the AL East wants him, and needs him. Every team. They should not consider dealing within the division, unless they are able to get additional pieces. Don’t bother trading with the Yankees, as they do not have the prospects to make the deal happen.

    Should be an interesting July…

  13. You are I are both AL lifers, KP.

    I don’t know that I recall the division ever being this mediocre. The Sox and Rays under .500, the Yanks hovering right around it.

    You’re right. It is anyone’s division but they’ll have a long road to battle against the other division winners.

    Re: Price, if the Rays can remain hot, they might not move him. They still have options. My only point with the piece is that this is just another example of a small market team not being able to compete with the big spenders.

    Such is life.

  14. Pingback: Parting thoughts on Price | Sports Chump

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