The Tampa Bay Rays could soon make a decision on David Price.
Baseball’s winter meetings will be held next Monday through Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and the status of the Rays’ ace left-hander will be a popular topic.
Price, the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, made $10.11 million last season, and he’s not scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2015 campaign.
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But Price could earn at least $13 million in arbitration this offseason, meaning the Rays will likely scout interest in the former first overall pick with his value high.
Tampa Bay pulled a major deal near this time in 2012. Last December, the Rays sent right-hander James Shields, a mentor to Price, to the Kansas City Royals in a blockbuster seven-player trade. That delivered outfield prospect Wil Myers, the eventual AL Rookie of the Year, to the Rays.
On Wednesday, Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay’s executive vice president of baseball operations, addressed the Price situation.
“It makes no difference in what I talked about at the end of the season and what we talked about at the GM meetings in Orlando,” he said. “Obviously, we don’t comment about specific players. But I think the most over-arching comment that I always make when asked about specific players is, simply said, our goal is to be as good as we can be in 2014 and be as well-positioned as possible to sustain that success into the future. Certain players make that much more difficult than others, and so it’s just something we weigh and balance in everything we do every day of the year.”
There is a chance, of course, that nothing will happen with Price next week or any time this offseason if the Rays don’t receive an offer that impresses them.
The 28-year-old has a career 71-39 regular-season record with a 3.19 ERA and 876 strikeouts since making his Major League debut in 2008. He has many productive years ahead of him if he stays healthy.
How many of those will be with the Rays? That’s one of the offseason’s most significant questions. More could be learned next week.