The Tampa Bay Rays are convinced that they have a run to the 2014 playoffs in them.
Who can blame them? With a ridiculous months-long surge to a 52-54 record, the Rays are within reach of a .500 record and only four games out of a playoff spot. They have their ridiculously talented pitching staff clicking, and they are due to get outfield Wil Myers back next month.
That optimism, delusional at one point but altogether realistic at the present moment, has created an awkward dilemma for general manager Andrew Friedman and the Tampa Bay front office.
Can they really afford to trade staff ace David Price with all those good vibes running through the locker room? The Rays kept Price this past off-season because they thought they were contenders in 2014, after all. Even if they are getting good offers for Price, a player they eventually have to trade, will they have to wait to pull the trigger even if they have the deal they want in the coming days?
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that executives believe that the Rays will send an especially negative message to their locker room if they trade Price.
It may make perfect business sense, the high-ranking executives say, but with the Rays on a 28-12 run – climbing within seven games of the division lead and 4 ½ games of a wild card spot – good luck explaining your decision to the clubhouse. The Rays have no choice but to keep him and deal him for a lesser return this winter, the executives say, if they want to avoid a clubhouse mutiny.
There will still be a return to be had for Price in winter trade negotiations, especially because teams will have more roster flexibility. Even still, the Rays can’t like the idea of being handcuffed by their own success when it comes to a move that could potentially benefit their long-term prospects.
Be sure to stay tuned to FanSided’s MLB Rumors page to stay up to date with the latest action and rumblings from the baseball hot stove this trade season.