SEATTLE — The Rays made the decision Saturday to promote LHP David Price to Triple-A Durham.
They make a lot of decisions. Andrew Friedman made a tough one July 31 when he chose not to trade for another bat to boost the offense. Joe Maddon made a gutsy one last week when he benched B.J. Upton for a lack of hustle with other starters out.
Now they are facing a huge one: when (we're assuming the if has already been decided) to bring up Price and what to do with him.
Based on all evidence, Price should certainly be able to help. In 15 minor-league starts at Class A and Double A, he is 11-0 with a 1.87 ERA, allowed only 70 hits in 912/3 innings (a .211 average) and has a strikeout to walk ratio of 92-23. Scouts say, and the Rays saw in spring training, he has the most electric stuff of anyone on their major-league staff.
When they promote him next, the question is whether to use him in the big leagues as a starter or reliever.
"It's a debate," Friedman said.
Price — who, for the record, said Friday that, "I'll do whatever it takes" — would be more comfortable as a starter. But that would require bumping Edwin Jackson (8-7, 4.22) or Andy Sonnanstine (11-6, 4.40) from the rotation, which given their success might cause discomfort and disharmony among the current group. And it puts more pressure on Price.
But putting Price, 22, in the bullpen could limit his effectiveness. It could force him, in a debut season already disrupted by an elbow injury, to alter his preparation and routine. It could, possibly, disrupt his development. And the Rays bullpen has been effective the way it's set up, so his role wouldn't be clear.
It seems logical for the Rays to bring up Price by late August, so he can make a soft landing (say, vs. Toronto or Baltimore) before the heat of September and be eligible for the postseason.
The Rays say he will start for the Bulls, which could be a hint of their plans. He'll make his Durham debut Wednesday, at home. He likely won't be there long.