LAKE BUENA VISTA — David Price will still be with the Rays when baseball's winter meetings end today.
But based on how much talk there has been about him here and how little he has heard otherwise from the Rays, Price said Wednesday that he is prepared to be traded.
"It's something I've kind of prepared myself for," Price said via text message. "I've seen my teammates go through it and watched how they handled it. Just waiting to see what is going to happen."
The suddenly free-spending Mariners, who Wednesday curiously added two first baseman the Rays had interest in, continue to be at the center of the speculation.
Though they say they don't plan to trade top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, that doesn't necessarily preclude a deal for Price as they could put together an appealing package of several other top young players such as infielder Nick Franklin, catcher Mike Zunino, lefty James Paxton and now-available first baseman Justin Smoak, among others.
There is also the thought the Dodgers, despite publicly denying interest in adding a starter, could be positioning themselves to make a significant offer.
Though they don't have a single elite prospect, they, too, could put together a package and have extensive financial resources.
A sampling of industry officials is that some teams have expressed only initial interest while others are further along and, of course, there could be a surprise team (Braves?) but nothing is considered imminent. For what it's worth, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg left the meetings Wednesday.
Price, 28, has two years until he becomes eligible for free agency. But given the high price the Rays will demand, any team acquiring the left-hander likely will want to at least explore signing him long term. That discussion could be part of a proposed trade, though the Rays don't have to — and might not want to — grant an inquiring team permission to negotiate.
Agent Bo McKinnis told Fox Sports on Wednesday morning that Price would consider signing an extension with some teams but not with the Mariners. That could certainly impact the Mariners' thinking about pursing a deal but not rule it out as they might decide it was still worth it.
And Price later said he would be willing to consider an extension — which potentially could approach $200 million — in the right situation.
"I'm open-minded to anything," he said. "Guess it depends on where I go — where is it and are they winning."
Rays manager Joe Maddon left the meetings Wednesday saying he didn't think his bosses had decided what to do with Price — or hadn't yet seen enough in return to act.
"It's like last year with (James) Shields," Maddon said. "I really didn't think Shields (was) going anywhere. I really did not, so I don't know. It really comes down, when you hear all this stuff going on … it takes two to dance. And you don't know how serious the other sides are, and then if they're not going to match up, then it's ridiculous. Don't do it.
"We know why the potential is out there to do it, and of course, you've got to get that great return if you're going to do it right now. But, honestly, if you had to ask me, I feel the same way like I did last year with Shields. I really didn't think (there would be a trade). But then it was Wil Myers looming, and all of a sudden you could have Wil Myers, and that kind of made you do it."
Price, meanwhile, has checked in regularly with McKinnis for updates. At some point, it seems he would want, or even seek, a deadline for a resolution so he can start preparing for either returning or moving on. But that is not his strategy yet.
"I guess if I don't ever get the date, that means I'm not traded," Price said. "So that's the way I'll look at it!"
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]