Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Close attention being paid to Rays' David Price

David Price wasn't even on the active roster to pitch at last week's All-Star Game, but he — and his future with the Rays relative to the July 31 trade deadline — were popular topics of conversation. Here are excerpts of what people were saying:

Jon Lester

Red Sox LHP

"I feel like right now he's got another year (with the Rays) and they might end up getting more (in a trade), but, I don't know, it's hard when a guy has another year to really buy into that you're going to get rid of him. But you never know. The Rays have done such a good job of stockpiling that they may say, 'We need to get more guys' and do it. Or here in the next week they could be five games out and he stays."

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers LHP

"I love watching him pitch. I feel like he doesn't walk anybody and strikes out everybody, so that's amazing. … I think he's probably got the best fastball command in the game. … It's weird that the Rays aren't doing well this year; everybody always thinks the Rays are going to be right in it. Whatever team he goes to, they're getting an ace. It'll make that team a lot better. So (a trade) might change a race, no doubt."

Scott Boras

Mega-agent (and not Price's agent)

"I think it's more of an offseason issue. … I don't think the (trade) packages that come across usually this time of year are going to be so advantageous. … Particularly in the division you're in, a player like that, he is a turning factor."'

Tim Hudson

Giants RHP

"That's kind of a tough deal for both sides. … As far as the talent goes, of course you want to keep him, but does it make sense for the organization long term? … (If your team keeps him), I'm turning a back flip; I'm thinking I've got a chance."

Jim Bowden

ESPN/Sirius XM radio expert; ex-GM

"If the Rays can get back in it … I think they're going to hold him and try to get back to the playoffs again. I think if they get to the end of July and come to the conclusion that 'We're really not close enough,' then I think they'll explore trades. If they get a trade that they like, that has to be north of what the Cubs got for (RHP Jeff) Samardzija (from Oakland), I think they'll pull the trigger and make the deal. If they're lowballed and not able to get the price that Andrew (Friedman, Rays exec VP) wants, I don't think he'll be afraid to hold him and do it again in November. … You have to have a feel for your team, and you have to have a feel for the return. If the Dodgers want to call and give you (top prospects OF Joc) Pederson and (LHP Julio) Urias, you make the deal and don't look back. … (As for Seattle) I don't know if (RHP) Taijuan Walker's shoulder is okay. … And I certainly wouldn't want to trade David Price for someone I question physically."

Ken Rosenthal

Fox Sports

"I think they will trade him. I don't know that they'll get exactly what they want, but they're smart, the time is now, two pennant races instead of one. I just see them maxing out. … I look at those playoff odds (a 4.9 percent chance, per Baseball Prospectus' projections) … (and) those numbers are pretty daunting. And you can make the argument that the division is mediocre, and it is, no question. But I would guess that front office is looking at those odds and saying, 'What are we doing here?' "

Buster Olney

ESPN, on Baseball Tonight

"What (rival executives) believe is that the Rays haven't made up their mind they're going to trade David Price, (that) they're not pushing David Price but they are preparing, in the eyes of rival evaluators, for a potential David Price trade. And the feeling is that the 24th or 25th of July the Rays will make up their minds one way or the other whether or not they're going to move him. What they continue to tell teams is that it's going to take two high-end prospects to make a deal happen. It's interesting, when you talk to executives of other teams, they think inevitably the Dodgers and the Rays will find each other. Because the Dodgers have prospects to deal and they also have money to pay Price, who will make more than $20 million next year. Other teams are in it as well, like the Seattle Mariners."

Gabe Kapler

Writing on foxsports.com

"The teams that could use David Price the most are the teams that lost or need offense. … Price is unquestionably the biggest difference maker on the market. All the clubs could use a stud pitcher, but the (Cardinals and Mariners) … would be better served to acquire him over a decent bat. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you score more (runs) than you allow; it doesn't matter how you get there. And there simply isn't an available hitter with Price's level of impact. Instead of forcing the bat, get the obvious and dependable difference maker on the mound for not just one, but two pennant races."

Price rumblings

It's intriguing that the Rays set up their rotation for David Price to not pitch this week against the Cardinals, who are among those interested (and have the prospects, led by OF Oscar Taveras). … Last week's Twitter buzz about ongoing talks with the Mariners on Price and Ben Zobrist didn't seem like much, if anything, new. … Speculation about a deal with the Indians was unrealistic. … Interesting fangraphs.com analysis that getting Price would help the Blue Jays most in making the playoffs but the Dodgers most in winning a championship. … After Price followed him on Twitter, ex-Braves star Chipper Jones tweeted back a welcome that ended with: "U like Atlanta?? Wink,wink" (Price responded: "haha I grew up doing the chop!! Watched every game with my family"). … Though Price didn't come out and say he wanted to go to the Cubs if traded, his comments about Chicago being "the coolest city to win a championship in right now" played that way.

Short stops

• Fox and Major League Baseball were rightfully criticized for not acknowledging or memorializing the late Tony Gwynn during the All-Star Game. And Gwynn wasn't the only one left out; wouldn't it have felt good to see Don Zimmer acknowledged? And Jim Fregosi, Bob Welch and others baseball lost in the past year?

• Not a surprise that former Rays DH Luke Scott's stay in Korea ended badly. Scott was let go from his team after being accused of showing "disrespectful" behavior to a coach — referring to him as a "liar" and a "coward," per the Korea Times — in an argument after being put on the DL for the third time this season.

Rays rumblings

Next season the Rays visit the Phillies, host the Mets and have home-and-home interleague series with the Braves, Marlins and Nats. They tentatively open April 6 vs. Baltimore at the Trop. … 3B Evan Longoria's behind-the-bag play in Game 2 to throw out Toronto's Melky Cabrera ranked seventh on ESPN's prebreak Web Gems and 10th on top plays. … David Price plans to experiment with the split-changeup Alex Cobb throws. … Here's one idea for when Wil Myers returns to rightfield in mid August: Put Kevin Kiermaier in center and move Desmond Jennings back to left.

Got a minute? Curt Casali

Best meal you can make?

Chicken and pasta, with a little cayenne pepper, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese.

Must-see TV?

I was a huge Lost fan.

Karaoke song if you had to?

Something by Eric Church, maybe Love Your Love the Most, a serenade.

Food you hate?

Can't stand mushrooms.

Celebrity crush

Rachel McAdams (left), as a brunette.

     
       
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