As 2013 begins, Rays fans can rest easy knowing their team’s ace is officially under contract. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported that the Rays and David Price had reached a deal to avoid arbitration, and Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted that the deal was worth a little over 10 million dollars. Price will earn over double the 4.35 million dollars he made in 2012, and his nearly 6 million dollar raise is the largest in MLB history for a second-time arbitration-eligible player. Those numbers have to make Rays fans wince a little bit, but at the same time, Price certainly deserves it. Despite ranking just 94th among MLB pitchers in salary in 2012 according to Baseball-Reference, Price delivered a Cy Young season, going 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA and a 205-59 strikeout to walk ratio in 31 starts and 211 innings pitched. It was the best pitching season the Rays have ever seen and it’s clear that Price has become every bit the ace that the Rays knew he could be when they selected him first overall in the 2007 MLB Draft. Even though that 10 million dollar figure seems like a lot, James Shields was scheduled to make 10.25 million dollars in 2012 as a very good but clearly inferior pitcher, and the Rays are more than content to budget basically the same amount of money to a pitch that is the clear leader of their staff. Price is set to make more money than the rest of the Rays’ starting pitchers combined, but the Rays understand that monetary efficiency is not everything as they continue to build and rebuild a team that has been a perennial contender the last five years and looks to be more of the same moving forward. They need a pitcher who can step to the mound and dominate every fifth day and David Price is exactly that.