Oct 5, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price (14) delivers a pitch during the first inning in game two of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays looking to make Price a cornerstone

Although former American League Cy Young award winner David Price has admitted he expects the Tampa Bay Rays to deal him this offseason, the organization is exploring all possible avenues to make Price a franchise cornerstone in years to come.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Tampa Bay front office is desperately trying to keep Price for years to come, but are quickly finding out they may be fighting a losing battle.

They appear to be trying to figure out ways to make Price the focal point of their pitching staff for many years, but they know they’re losing the battle. So, this offseason the consensus among baseball executives — and even Price himself — is that Tampa general manager Andrew Friedman will try to make another Wil Myers-type deal, obtain a player or two that are major league-ready and plug them into the lineup or rotation.

In the recent past, Tampa Bay dealt top-of-the-line starter James Shields to the Kansas City Royals, in exchange for top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi along with two other minor leaguers.

As Cafardo himself mentioned, there are several prospects for such a deal to take place again between Tampa Bay and another organization that is seemingly one elite pitcher from contention, but the role Price plays both on and off the field for the Rays is immeasurable, according to many.

Price went 10-8 with a 3.33 earned run average in 2013, making 27 starts for the Rays. The year prior, when he took home the American League Cy Young honors, he went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 31 starts. He added 2-5 strikeouts in 211 innings of work, as well.

Several teams have been rumored to have interest in Price, for obvious reasons. The St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs have all been linked to Price. Early in the season Buster Olney spoke with WEEI about these possibilities.

If you’re the Red Sox, the big thing going forward is going to be having access to that high-end starting pitching talent, and we know that’s something they would be focused on, and that’s why I put them on that list. I still think the Cubs to me would be the most likely team to get him, and with the Cardinals being the team, that if they ever stuck out their elbows, because the farm situation is so deep, they could blow everybody out of the water in a bidding situation.

Despite the best intentions (and efforts) of the front office down in St. Petersburg, don’t be shocked if the 2012 AL Cy Young award winner is in a new uniform come Opening Day 2014.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs David Price Hot Stove MLB St. Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Rays