ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays and Cy Young award winning left-hander David Price have agreed to a one-year deal worth just over $10 million to avoid salary arbitration.
Price made $4.35 million last year, but was projected to potentially more than double that amount in 2013 after going 20-5 with a league-leading 2.56 ERA, narrowly beating out Justin Verlander for the American League Cy Young award.
Price, 27, a three-time All-Star, will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. There has been no official announcement or comment by the Rays on the agreement, which was first reported by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
The deadline to exchange figures for salary arbitration is Jan. 18, but it's no surprise the Rays made Price's deal a priority.
With righty James Shields (and Wade Davis) traded to the Royals, Price is expected to be the leader of the pitching staff. Plus, knowing what the Rays had to pay Price could help them sort out what they had remaining for the other arbitration-eligible players and potential free agents.
The question still remains whether Tampa Bay can eventually sign Price to a long-term deal. Price has said many times he'd love to stay, and agent Bo McKinnis told the Times this month that while "it becomes increasingly difficult" at this stage of his career, "it's not too late."
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.