Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rays and David Price Avoid Arbitration

mlb.com
David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement earlier today on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. According to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times, the deal will pay Price a touch over ten million in 2013. The left-hander made 4.35 million in 2012, as he was part of the 2012 Super 2 Arbitration class. Most projections had Price earning just under ten million through arbitration this year. The deal gives Price an approximate six million jump in salary from 2012 to 2013. He will be arbitration eligible for the next two years, and if an extension is not signed, is on track to become a free agent following the 2015 season. The Cy-Young Winner had an excellent campaign in 2012, pitching his way towards a 2.56 ERA, 2nd best in the MLB. He struck out almost one per inning, ringing up 205 batters in 211 innings. If Price continues his stellar work in Tampa Bay's rotation, he projects to earn about 15 million in arbitration next year, and possibly more than 20 million in 2015.

The Rays had a payroll of 63.6 million on Opening Day this year, and it is widely believed that because of this, Price will be made available sometime in the next two years, as the Rays may not be able to afford having one player earn approximately 15-20 million, what would have been about one fourth of their 2012 payroll. If the Rays decide to make Price available in the next couple of years, he would have plenty of suitors, and the Rays would likely receive one of the biggest packages of players in MLB history in return for him. In the recent James Shields deal, they were able to acquire a top 5 prospect, a top 100 prospect, and 2 other prospects with major league potential. Imagine what they could receive for Price, whose ERA was nearly a whole run better than Shields' in 2012 and is almost 4 years younger! The Rays may be able to get Price to sign an extension that would allow them to keep Price at an affordable rate, much as they did with Evan Longoria recently, but at this point, it seems more likely that he is put on the trading block sometime before 2015.

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