Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Price's pluses to Rays outweigh trade value

Don't do it.

Not now. Not yet.

I'm talking to the Rays and I'm talking about David Price.

They are going to trade their ace pitcher sooner or later. I vote for later. Like sometime next season, maybe even next year.

But not now.

The Rays have to trade him eventually because they can't afford him. I get that.

I also understand the argument for trading him now. His value might never be higher than it is at this moment.

More teams are interested today than would be next June. If you wait, Price could get hurt. Maybe he gets off to a bad start. Either way, his trade value goes down.

All valid points, all reasons for swallowing hard and pulling the trigger on a deal.

So why wait?

Because Price helps you win. Now. Quite frankly, the Rays need him to win now. And isn't that what it's all about — winning?

Evan Longoria is in his prime. So is Ben Zobrist. Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings are young, but good. The Rays are a playoff team. They are certainly in the conversation for a World Series.

This is their window and such windows don't last long, especially when you pinch pennies like the Rays. You have to take advantage of the rare chances you get and dealing Price, especially for prospects, weakens the Rays in the short term.

When the Rays traded pitcher James Shields a year ago for several prospects, including eventual rookie of the year Myers, they did so knowing their pitching staff was fully stocked. You can't say the same thing now.

A big reason why is the alarming regression of Jeremy Hellickson. He stepped so far back last season that you have to be concerned about his effectiveness going forward.

Matt Moore won 17 games last season, but he just seems too wild and too flaky to convince me he is ready to take over as the staff's ace in what will be just his third full season.

Like Hellickson a year ago, Chris Archer seems to have a bright future, but let's not rush Archer to the front of the rotation just yet. He's only 25 and still pitches and acts like a kid. He has only won 12 games in the big leagues.

Alex Cobb? Okay, that's a future ace and, one could argue, the Rays' best pitcher last season.

So if the Rays trade Price, you have a staff of Moore, Cobb, Archer, Hellickson and an unknown fifth starter, probably a journeyman or a youngster. That's assuming you don't get a pitcher in return for Price.

Is that a staff that can win a division? Is that a staff that can shut down the world champion Red Sox or the heavy-hitting Yankees?

I don't think it is and that is why I would be hesitant to trade Price.

The Rays' way of winning hasn't changed. It's still predicated on pitching and defense. Trading your best pitcher, who happens to be one of the best in baseball, doesn't jibe with how the Rays win games. The moment the Rays trade Price, they almost assuredly will become a weaker pitching staff. And a weaker staff means a weaker team.

Take last season. Price was ineffective or hurt for much of the first half. Overall, he won just 10 games. Still, the Rays won 92 and made the playoffs, lending credence to the argument that trading Price really wouldn't be that big of a deal.

But look a little closer at last season. Price returned from injury in July as a renewed pitcher and went on a 5-1 run with four complete games over seven starts. During that stretch, the Rays went 20-6. The point? When Price was at his best, the Rays were at their best. He led the way by winning games and preserving bullpens.

I say keep him for now. If next season gets off to a bumpy start and the postseason doesn't seem possible, then deal him. If the Rays are in the hunt, keep him, try to win a championship and worry about trading him another day.

But I also will say this: I trust Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman to do the right thing, even if it means trading Price now. Friedman's track record is just too good to question. Every time the Rays have been in this situation, Friedman has done the right thing.

He didn't trade Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton as free agency approached. The Rays won with those players and haven't been haunted by their departures. On the other hand, he traded Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir and, especially, Shields at the perfect times. In each case, he acquired valuable parts that have kept the small-market Rays in contention.

This is how the front office has to operate to keep Tampa Bay near the top of the majors on a shoestring budget and that's the shame in all of this.

Every offseason, it's the same. The Red Sox and Yankees and Tigers and Rangers write fat checks for big-name free agents, while the Rays sift through discount racks and trade today's stars for what they hope are future stars.

It's all in an effort to help the Rays win a championship someday. That someday could be next season.

But only if David Price is still wearing a Rays uniform.

Comments
Brent Honeywell, Willy Adames lead Rays prospects in Baseball Americaís top 100

Brent Honeywell, Willy Adames lead Rays prospects in Baseball Americaís top 100

The Rays had two players in the top 20 and six overall in Baseball America's annual ranking of the game's top 100 prospects.RHP Brent Honeywell heads the Rays contingent at No. 14 with shortstop Willy Adames at No. 19.The other ranked Rays are 1B/LHP...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18