Tampa Bay ace David Price may have made his final appearance in a Rays uniform.
After the Boston Red Sox shellacked the southpaw for seven earned runs on nine hits over a gutsy seven frames of work Saturday, the Rays moved within one game of elimination in the American League Division Series.
22 teams have gone up 2-0 in the ALDS all-time and 18 of them advanced to the American League Championship Series. That’s 81.8 percent odds in favor of the Red Sox.
Price, 28, has been at the forefront of the Tampa Bay rotation since 2010, when he went 19-6, leading the Rays back to the postseason for just the second time in the franchise’s young history. However, the sand may be running out in the hourglass and it appears Tampa Bay likely lacks the resources to flip it over and start again.
Entering the final years of his contract, the left-hander is arbitration-eligible, and could see his salary rise fro $10 million to $15 million annually – a stretch for a small-market Tampa Bay club that prides itself on being financially savvy and making the most of a limited budget.
With that in mind, Joel Sherman, a baseball writer for the New York Post, believes that Price is on his way out during the offseason for several reasons. First, the Rays simply can’t afford him. Second, now is the time when the organization can get the most back for their prized ace. Lastly, Tampa Bay, which has experienced tremendous success recently, can no longer count on acquiring top-notch pitching talent early in the draft, as they had done in years’ past. Now, they must rely on replenishing the farm system with deals just like this one.
The Cubs have long-been rumored to be a potential destination for the Rays’ ace and were mentioned by Sherman as the runner-up to the Texas Rangers in the potential sweepstakes. Sherman also went on to say that the Rays would like to deal Price outside the American League East, preferably to the National League.
It will not be an easy trade because the acquiring team not only has to give up a premium package, but likely will have to treat Price as a free agent and sign him long-term so he does not leave after the 2015 campaign.
Price is regarded as the top talent available this offseason – especially in terms of pitchers – and many Cubs fans have called for the team to sign him. My advice to them? Don’t.
Price is going to fetch top-level talent, which admittedly, the Cubs have plenty of. That being said, the farm system is finally beginning to resemble something halfway respectable with the likes of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler, and dismantling it now would be foolhardy.
There’s no denying that he is one of, if not the best left-hander in all of Major League Baseball. But with the Cubs still likely 2-3 years from being legitimate contenders, the asking price is too high for one player and making such a move could jeopardize everything Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been constructing over the past two years.
I say patience. Patience is what will get the Cubs back to the postseason for the first time since 2009, not four-for-one trades when the team is still not close to contending.