Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Price hopeful he'll start season with Rays

Given their financial profile and the ongoing industrywide escalation in player salaries, the Rays can't afford not to consider trading ace David Price if an unexpectedly overwhelming offer came along in the next few weeks, or even months.

But given the investment in this season's team, with the 25-man payroll extended (over­extended, they say) to a franchise high in the mid $70 millions, and increasing excitement internally and throughout the market about their potential, could they really afford to deal their staff leader?

Price is certainly hoping the potential for success is part of the equation, and last week, after agreeing to an arbitration-avoiding team-record, one-year $14 million salary, he made another pitch to stay.

"I feel like we have a very good team, so hopefully we can make some kind of run," he said. "If we can have this team that we have right now on paper and everybody stays healthy and produces the type of seasons that we all can produce, I think we can do something special. … I want to be part of it."

Price, 28, spent much of what has to have been an awkward offseason at his family's Nashville-area home, hoping nothing would happen. He came back to the Tampa Bay area last week to intensify workouts, thinking wishfully aloud that he could soon exhale and assume he is staying.

His premise is that once free agent RHP Masahiro Tanaka signs this week, teams that miss out could make a last — albeit late — run at the Rays, and if that doesn't quickly lead to anything, Price could safely plan on reporting to Port Charlotte a few weeks later. He also feels that he wouldn't be traded once he gets to camp — suggesting such a deal would upset other Rays players — though team officials won't, and can't, make that assurance.

"I think it's kind of worked out well for me to be able to come back," Price said. "That's what's going on right now, and hopefully not too much changes."

MUSCLED MATT: After a disappointing and inconsistent 2013 performance, OF Matt Joyce has put on nearly 20 pounds in hopes the additional weight will lead to increased power and keep him stronger throughout the season. "I think that in itself is going to help," said Joyce, who hit 14 homers through mid June and only four after. "Everything looked great last year, but I felt a little weaker."

RAYS RUMBLINGS: Though new national TV deals will reportedly provide an additional $25 million in revenue to each team, MLB might withhold up to $10 million so the net increase is significantly less. … The annual FanFest is Feb. 22 at the Trop. … Radio guys Andy Freed and Dave Wills are signed to be back this season, as are TV guys Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson, plus hosts/reporters Todd Kalas and Kelly Nash. … Best wishes to Don Zimmer, who turned 83 Friday and will be back with the Rays as a senior adviser for his 66th year in pro ball. … OF Wil Myers will be presented his AL rookie of the year award Saturday at the BBWAA's New York dinner. … Condolences to INF prospect Kean Wong, whose mother, Keala, died recently after a long battle with cancer. … The new batting practice/spring training jerseys will be available in team stores in early February. … Jared Sandberg, who managed last season at Class A Bowling Green, is among the candidates for the vacant Double-A Montgomery job. … Chris Westmoreland was promoted to director of team travel and clubhouse operations, with Jose Fernandez moving up to home clubhouse manager and Ryan Denlinger as the assistant. … OF Kevin Kiermaier and LHPs C.J. Riefenhauser and Enny Romero attended MLB's rookie career development program in Virginia. … Price's $14 million contract is straight salary, no deferrals or signing bonuses.

EX-RAYS RUMBLINGS: In addition to his Fox Sports Live TV work, Gabe Kapler has started a fitness blog called … RHP Hideo Nomo was elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, 1B Tino Martinez the Latin American Sports Hall. … INF Jorge Cantu is playing in Korea this season.

Marc Topkin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

. fast facts

Rays key dates

Feb. 14: Pitchers and catchers report to Port Charlotte

Feb. 20: First full-squad workout in Port Charlotte

Feb. 22: FanFest at the Trop

Feb. 28: Exhibition opener vs. O's at Port Charlotte

March 31: Regular-season opener vs. Jays at the Trop

Price hopeful he'll start season with Rays 01/18/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 18, 2014 8:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]