Every Rays fan should remember James Shields‘ last start in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform on October 2, 2012. Shields was dominant against the Baltimore Orioles, throwing a complete-game two-hitter with 15 strikeouts against not a single walk. He made one big mistake, a solo home run by Chris Davis, but that was it. He had given the Rays arguably the best start of his Tampa Bay career, and that should have enough for him to win. Unfortunately, it was not. The Rays could not muster a single run for him and lost 1-0. Shields gave everything for the Rays, but the Rays could never give enough back to him. Was it poetic justice or simply a sad story getting sadder when Shields was traded to the Kansas City Royals two months later? Whatever the case may be, the Rays are approaching a similar situation with David Price.
David Price has not been perfect in 2014. He has a 3.81 ERA overall, and has allowed five or more earned runs in four different starts. Lately, however, he has been excellent. In his last five outings, Price has a 2.58 ERA while averaging 7.2 innings per start. He has struck out 10 straight batters in a team record four straight starts, and has found his way to the top of the AL leaderboard in innings pitched and strikeouts. Yet the Rays have gone just 1-4 in those games as their horrific season simply has not let up. David Price is doing exactly what an ace is supposed to do to help his team recover. He isn’t perfect, but he has pitched extremely well. At this point, though, that is not enough.
There is no reason to have David Price on the Tampa Bay Rays right now. Rays fans can continue to dream of a miracle comeback from this disastrous start, but the odds are getting longer by the day. What is the purpose of having David Price pitch his heart out on a team that can’t score him runs? Why are we wasting our time when even Price’s wins will mean so little in the scheme of things? Next year, the Tampa Bay Rays could very well be a playoff team again. But right now, they are decidedly not, and Price deserves better. Trading David Price is not just about the Rays receiving prospects–it is also about them giving their ace the opportunity he deserves to pitch meaningful games.