David Price expecting to be traded this winter

10/10/13 in MLB   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

When it comes to re-signing prospective free agents, teams like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have it pretty easy - if they value the player, they just open their massive wallets and lock him up with a new contract. For teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, however, bringing back young superstars on mega-deals simply is not an option. Despite their recent success, the Rays have the third-lowest payroll in the MLB this season. They are able to splurge on a player or two (third baseman Evan Longoria received a $100 million extension last year), but can not dish out money like many of the other teams in the league.

The Rays find success by developing young talent. Players like 22-year-old Wil Myers came on in a big way for Tampa Bay this year. Unfortunately, when these talented players reach the end of their rookie contracts, the Rays can not afford to re-sign them. Over just the past few years, the Rays have lost Carl Crawford, James Shields, and Matt Garza largely for financial reasons. Crawford left as a free agent, while Shields and Garza were traded two years prior to becoming free agents so that the Rays could capitalize on their trade value. Another big-time Rays pitcher - David Price - is now two years away from free agency.

Oct 5, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price (14) reacts to giving up two runs 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 SportsThe 2012 Cy Young winner, Price is going to command a huge contract when he hits the open market. The Rays will not have a shot at outbidding the MLB's big spenders. As a result, rumors are beginning to spread that the Rays will spend the winter shopping Price for a hefty package of prospects. With two years remaining on his current contract, teams will be willing to give up much more for Price now than at the trade deadline of his contract year, or even next winter. The Rays are said to be hoping to capitalize on Price's value with two years left on his deal, as they did with Garza and Shields.

Quotes from Price suggest that the trade rumors regarding the 28-year-old lefty do carry some weight. "If you go with what's been done in the past, I guess you're going to have to think you're going to get traded," Price told the Tampa Bay Tribune on Wednesday night. "It's not disappointing or anything like that. This is a place I love to be. My teammates and everyone in the organization knows that. It's part of baseball and it's something I've seen go on; it's kind of something I somewhat prepared myself for."

Teams that could look into acquiring Price are likely teams with money to burn that also have a wealth of prospects to send Tampa Bay in return. Teams like the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and New York Mets could explore a potential deal for the Rays' ace. While some of the Rays' AL East rivals (i.e. the Yankees and Boston Red Sox) have the money to bring in Price and sign him to a long-term deal, the Rays are very unlikely to trade Price to a team within the division.

This will be one of the bigger MLB story lines this offseason, and Price says he expects to know his future in the next few weeks.
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