Down to the Wire with Price

David Price starts tonight for the Rays when they open a three-game series against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.  With the non-waiver trade deadline looming, everyone again is wondering if this will be Price’s last start wearing a Rays uniform.

For the Rays it’s a tough call. They are in the AL Wild Card race and even have a remote chance at winning the AL East.  Without Price, the odds of reaching the postseason would be diminished.  However, if they don’t trade Price — and wait until after the season — his value would be diminished  by 30 to 40 percent according to what one baseball executive that told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.  Another executive told Stark: “They’ve really built their team by making these kinds of deals. But if the return they can get now is something they think they can get this winter, they’ll hold him.”

Thus, speculation about Price’s fate — and other Rays such as Ben Zobrist, Jeremy Hellickson, Yunel Escobar and Matt Joyce — should ramp up a notch in the coming days. 

On the flip side, there is the possibility the Rays could become buyers instead of sellers if they really believe they have a chance to make a run.  They could use a bullpen piece or another bat.  Based on how the team has operated in the past, a bullpen piece would likely be added after the deadline.  And once Wil Myers heals, his return could be equal — and potentially much better — than a trade for another bat.

This weekend’s series with the Red Sox could go a long way toward shaping David Price’s future and that of the Rays.

–Bill Chastain

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