September 20, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) reacts on the mound against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What David Price’s Contract May Say About His Future With The Rays

Over the past week, some of the details about the one year contract that David Price signed with the Rays came to light. Of particular interest is how his $10,112,500 salary for the deal was set up. Price received a $5Million signing bonus, and will have a base salary of just over $1Million next year, with $4Million deferred until 2014.

Why would this breakdown be significant? If there is one thing that seems to be a common theme for the front office of the Rays, they appear to be loathe to retain expensive pitchers on their roster, as evidenced by their trades of James Shields earlier this offseason, and Matt Garza after the 2010 season. By having only a shade over $1Million due to Price during the 2013 season, the Rays could theoretically maximize their return on investment, and save some money by trading him before 2014.

Does this mean that there is going to be a trade involving Price before the 2013 season? Not necessarily. Price wants to be a member of the Rays, as he has stated that he cannot imagine playing anywhere else. He is more than open to signing a long term extension with the Rays, and is hoping to do so. Yet, he is likely aware of his value in the open market, and with each day that goes by, the likelihood that the Rays will sign him to an extension may be decreasing.

Another factor in his future with the Rays may be how long he remains under team control. As a free agent following the 2015 season, Price would likely need to be traded during the 2013 offseason for the Rays to maximize his trade value. In fact, with the way his contract is set up, it almost appears as though the Rays had this in mind. Also, under the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement, the Rays could actually trade Price’s $4Million obligation to the receiving team, and not have to worry about paying him a dime beyond what is owed for 2013.

Even though a trade involving David Price may not be around the corner, there may be enough circumstantial evidence to make it seem as though one is being considered down the road. After what happened with Shields and Garza once their salaries reached a certain point, Price may end up following them out of town.

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Tags: David Price Tampa Bay Rays

  • Jason Nereim

    What teams do you think make the best fit in a Price trade next offseason? I’m hoping a Profar/Olt/Buckel or Tavarez/Adams/Miller package could be possility.

    • David Meade

      What team can afford to sign a pitcher to a $200M+ deal? Out of those teams, which ones will? Dodgers are at the top of the list, with the Yankees not far behind (but I also doubt the Rays deal him to the AL East). The Angels don’t seem to care about payroll even though they have a ton of huge contracts already, so maybe them as well. Perhaps the Cubs would be eager to make a splash. And maybe the Rangers, though I feel they’ll be looking for bats and still not eager to trade young bats for a huge pitching contract. Maybe the Marlins as a sleeper team. Which teams are set to renegotiate TV contracts this year? That might add a few more. I think the reality is that the market for Price is rather small (or rather the market that could afford him). Will also be interesting to see what teams he expresses a willingness to sign long term for — he doesn’t have no trade protection, but he could certainly sour a deal by stating he will walk after 2014 (or not making a commitment to sign a long term deal). In any case, I think it’s a real possibility that when Price is traded fans will view the return as less than adequate, and don’t be surprised if teams push for the Dickey trade as a comparison (fair or not). Unless a team NEEDS Price in 2014, just wait a year and sign him without giving up a thing.

    • Dave Hill

      Texas would likely be a front runner, but I wouldn’t count out the Angels. Arte Moreno is willing to spend money to build a winner, and that team could use someone to complement Jered Weaver.

      • Jason Nereim

        The Angels system is horrible, just check out Sickles write up at minorleagueball. They don’t have the depth to pull off a trade.

        • Dave Hill

          Their system isn’t deep, but they do have a couple of nice prospects. I like Kaleb Cowart and Nick Madrone. Taylor Lindsey is also fairly intriguing. I don’t think those players would be enough by any stretch, but maybe a couple of major league ready bats or a reliever as well could do it.

    • Mike Shimazu

      A package from the Cards could be very tasty. I think you’re looking at three players including one of Taveras, Miller or Allen Craig, plus B-level prospects. Also if the Rays feel they can’t compete by the AllStar break, a mid-season trade might make even more sense. With both Carp and Wainright headed to free agency, Price looks like a nice stable option.

      • Jason Nereim

        I would like to see a Tavarez, Martinez/Miller/Rosenthal, Adams package