Putting together the Rays All-Time 25th Anniversary squad

Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS.
Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS. / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Starting Pitcher: No. 14, David Price

Joe Maddon, Andrew Friedman, David Price, Jim Hickey, Stan Boroski
David Price with his 2012 AL Cy Young Award. / J. Meric/GettyImages

The starting five for this club is a bit unorthodox, considering three of the five arms selected in this projected are southpaws, but it wouldn't be a Rays team without unorthodox roster construction.

In an effort to put together the best team, antiquated theories on how to utilize a lefty-heavy pitching staff were thrown out the window. The clear first choice is that of Tampa's first Cy Young recipient David Price, who leads the Rays in a number of pitching categories among hurlers with at least 500 innings of work: ERA (3.18), WAR (21.8), WHIP (1.14), and Win Probability Added (9.4). His 122 ERA+ is second only behind Blake Snell, and his 82 decisions are second behind James Shields. Price pitched many big games for the Rays, including a relief outing where he closed out Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in 2008 as a rookie.

It's the 2010 season when Price, who went to his first of four All-Star games as a Ray, truly arrived as a certifiable ace for the ballclub. Price finished second in AL Cy Young voting behind Felix Hernandez in a season where the King pitched to a terrific 2.27 ERA. That being said, Price was terrific in his own right: 2.72 ERA, 144 ERA+, 188 Ks, 208 IP. 2012 was Price's crown jewel of his career, however, as he became the first Ray to ever record 20 wins in a single season. Price led the American League in ERA with a robust 2.56 margin over 211 innings, and struck out excess of 200 for the second consecutive season. Price posted numbers 50% better than the average pitcher in 2012, indicated by his 150 ERA+, and was good enough to become the first Ray to win an AL Cy Young.

From 2010 to 2014, the year of Price's midseason trade to Detroit, Price was one of four pitchers with a sub-3.10 ERA and at least 1,000 strikeouts across at least 1,000 frames, alongside Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, Cole Hamels of the Phillies and Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. To say that Price was amongst the game's elite for a significant period of his era as a Ray would be an understatement.