Price gets 1-year, $14-million deal to avoid arbitration
UPDATE, 4:22: Speaking on a conference call with Tampa Bay media, Price reiterated that he thinks the chances are increasing that he won't be traded, though he said he will feel better about it in a few weeks, after Tanaka signs and other teams react following the Jan. 24 deadline.
"The chances continue to get greater, I guess, as the days go by so I'm kind of just sitting back watching like I have all offseason,'' he said.
And not that he has a say, but he doesn't think he would be traded after reporting to spring camp, Feb. 14.
"I think if I'm in camp I would be on the team because that would stink if I would be a part of the team in spring training and everybody thinks I'd be there along with them and then I get traded a couple days into spring or something like that,'' Price said.
"I think that would be much tougher to take as opposed to something happening before spring. But I think if it was probably Feb. 1 would be a time period that I would think would kind of let me know that I would be here. I think it'd be a week after Tanaka signs.''
As has been the case, Price said his choice is to stay, and he is especially excited by the prospects of the Rays having a very strong team. "My mindset hasn't changed. I wanted to stay here, everybody knew that,'' he said.
"I want to be a part of it. I think they're going to have, we're going to have a really good season this year, so I would love to see what would happen. And hopefully I'm there for the duration of it.''
DEVELOPING: The Rays and David Price agreed to a one-year, $14-million deal to avoid arbitration.
Price had a $10.1-million salary last season when he went 10-8, 3.33 while spending six weeks on the DL due to a triceps strain.
The $14-million will be the highest one-year salary the Rays have paid. Carlos Pena made $10.25-million in 2010.
Price had been projected to make $13.1-million by mlbtraderumors.com. He has been the subject of trade speculation throughout the off-season, given that the Rays don't have the financial resources to keep him beyond 2015, when he is eligible for free agency.
Price said he was relieved to have his salary resolved, and - noting he wears No. 14 - was pleased with the final figure.
"Absolutely. Hopefully, it's my year since it's my number,'' he told the Times. "To have this process done is always good. It's good to know I don't have to go to arbitration.''
Price said he wasn't concerned about the prospects of a hearing and it didn't impact his preparation, but he is glad to move forward. "I wasn't really worried about it, and that stuff doesn't determine whether you will be with a team.''
The agreement on the $14-million salary doesn't mean Price won't be traded, though that seems increasingly unlikely as the season nears.
Price returned to the Tampa Bay area this week after spending most of the off-season at his family home in Nashville and is working out with the expectation that he will not be traded and remain with the Rays this season.
"Absolutely that's what I'm preparing for,'' Price said. "The off-season kind of went in a perfect way for me to stay a Ray. The Tanaka (free-agency) situation put a hold on the market a little bit. ... There's still a little bit of time for something happen, so we'll see.''
Price, 28, is one of the top pitchers and bigger stars in the game, having compiled a 71-29 record and 3.19 ERA in five-plus seasons, making three All-Star teams and winning the 2012 American League Cy Young Award.
Price's salary will account for close to 20 percent of the Rays payroll, which is projected to be around $72-million. Price is represented by Bo McKinnis.
The Rays have six other players eligible for arbitration: Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Joyce, Sean Rodriguez, Jake McGee, Jose Lobaton, Cesar Ramos.