Slowly but surely, the Tampa Bay Rays seem to be coming to the inevitable conclusion that the best course of action is for them to trade ace starting pitcher David Price this summer.
Even if the Rays decide that this year is a fluke and that they will be ready to contend again next season, it likely makes sense to trade Price now in what will surely be a seller’s market. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote about the options for the Rays this week, with the assumption that Price will be dealt regardless:
Do they stand relatively pat, or trade only Price, assuming this year is an aberration, acknowledging that much of the core is signed or under control for several years, and banking on a return to contention in 2015?
Or blow it all up, trading as many players as they can, taking advantage of the large number of other anxious contenders, to significantly re-stock their system and reduce future payroll commitments after spending a team-record $80 million this season?
If Price is dealt, it will mean that the Rays found a trade partner who is willing to pay the price in prospects in a deal, possibly guys who are close to the big leagues, and who is flush with payroll to sign Price to a $150 million type extension.
Were the Los Angeles Dodgers the first team you thought of? I thought so.
Buster Olney of ESPN writes that one top executive said that Price to the Dodgers is “inevitable” (subscription required). The money part of a deal would actually be a little bit complicated depending on the Dodgers’ plans for extensions for Hanley Ramirez, but here’s betting that the Dodgers will make it work if they get the chance.
If it happened, that’s a lot of money and a lot of pedigree at the top of the Dodgers’ rotation.