Could David Price’s Injury Be a Positive for the Rays?

By David Hill

When David Price got injured, this was an obvious blow to the Rays both in the short and long term. Short term, the Rays need to find a way to survive without Price in the rotation. Although he had struggled this year prior to the injury, managing only a 1-4 record with a 5.24 ERA, his presence alone as a staff leader was likely a comfort to the rest of the rotation.

In the long term, this injury could negatively impact the possible return for Price in a trade. Given the Rays payroll constraints, it was expected that he would be traded either sometime this offseason or the next. However, as Marc Topkin states, his injury will likely lessen the compensation that the Rays could get. Johan Santana is a great example – prior to his injury, the Twins could have gotten more for him, but had to settle for a lesser package.

Yet, could it be possible that the Price injury is actually a good thing for the Rays? Price has not looked right all year, particularly with his decreased velocity. In fact, it may be that the triceps injury could be caused from his trying to pitch through another injury, where he was doing something to compensate for pain elsewhere. By going on the disabled list, he should be able to heal any injuries that he has, hopefully allowing Price to get back to the form he displayed over the past three years. As the Rays have been able to stay in contention and even climb in the standings, potentially getting Price back in top form could only help their chances.

In the long term, if the trade market for Price is somewhat depressed, then it would stand to reason that he may get less as a free agent. Could this possibly increase the odds of the Rays being able to work out a long term extension? Price has stated that he wants to remain in Tampa and is open to an extension. However, he has stated that he does not want to take a discount to remain in Tampa, helping to fuel the trade speculation. Yet, right now, Price is likely at the nadir of his value. If the Rays offer a relatively team friendly deal that could keep Price in Tampa for a year or two into his free agent years, would he consider it at this point?

As much as it may hurt the Rays over the next couple of weeks, or until whatever point that David price returns, the Rays may actually be able to benefit from this. Although it may not have seemed to be at the time, and as odd as it may sound even now, this injury could have both long and short term advantages for Tampa.