The Tampa Bay Rays just won a four-game series three to one against the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field. The Rays are six and four in their last ten and manager Joe Maddon will never quit. But with the worst record in the American League at 31-46, the Rays are 9 1/2 games back in the wild card. This was not what they had in mind when they decided to keep their ace David Price instead of trading him in the offseason.
Price, 28, is expected to make $17 million and $20 million before he hits free agency and the Rays usually don’t pay star players. And while Price has earned the status as an ace, he hasn’t pitched like one. Price is 5-7 with a 3.81 ERA and has the most hits allowed in the AL with 116. Price has also been shaky in the postseason for the Rays. Since his great run in 2008 when the Rays went to the World Series, Price is 0-4 with a 5.81 ERA in four starts.
But with all that, Price is still a Cy Young Award winner who throws left-handed at 94-95 mph. The Rays will be competing with Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago Cubs and Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rays will look for premium value and the races are so wide open there are many possibilities.
Here are some teams that should trade for David Price:
1. Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have the most potent offense in the AL, but the key has been a Cy Young-caliber season from Mark Buehrle. Buehrle is 10-4 with a 2.32 ERA, and the rest of the rotation has been solid, but Price hasn’t pitched for an offense like the Blue Jays before. Price could make the Blue Jays prohibitive favorites to win it all.
2. Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers have been a surprise because of their offense too, but the starting rotation has been the difference. Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo are having All-Star seasons. The Brewers have a solid lead in the National League Central and they have the offense to win the NL. Price could be the key piece for a World Series run.
3. Baltimore Orioles: The AL East is there for the taking. The Orioles are 1 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays. Losing Matt Wieters was a huge blow, but they can still hit with anybody. Five starters are hitting .290 or better. Their pitching has been good enough, but Price could give the rotation a shot in the arm.
4. Atlanta Braves: They need Price to counter their injuries in the starting rotation. Kris Medlen was lost before the season and Gavin Floyd just went on the 15-day DL with a fractured right elbow. Julio Teheran has been brilliant, but the Braves need to keep up with the pitching of the Washington Nationals, who have three starters with ERAs under three and Stephen Strasburg isn’t one of them. The Braves also need to advance in the postseason after two disappointing endings.
5. Cleveland Indians: The Indians’ starting rotation is deceptively adequate with Corey Kluber (6-5, 3.30 ERA) holding things together. But the Indians could really use an extra arm to deepen the rotation. The Indians have the offense to stay in the wild card race. The Detroit Tigers could remain vulnerable in the AL Central if Justin Verlander continues to struggle. The Indians are also last in the AL in attendance and a splash could help.