David Price and the Rays avoid arbitration -- which can be a mess, a painful and personal process for both sides -- and he agrees to a one-year deal with the Rays for $14 million.
It's actually a great raise for Price, who earned $10 million last season. I think arbitration might have been a bit more personal this year because Price is coming off one of his worst seasons, with only 10 wins, and he didn't reach 200 innings for the first time in the last three years.
Looming over both the Rays and David Price (and I mean a deal that casts a huge shadow) is the money that Dodger left-hander Clayton Kershaw just signed for. The Dodgers made Kershaw the highest paid player in baseball, and honestly, it's the kind of money that Price can get once he becomes a free agent after 2015.
Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215 million deal. Kershaw will earn $30 million a year, and how about this -- five years into the deal, he can void the contract and become a free agent (again) at age 30. You know David Price is looking at and drooling over that kind of a contract.
Kershaw is 26, Price will be 29 this season in August. Kershaw won the Cy Young in 2011, was the runner up in 2012 and won it again last year in 2013. Price was the Cy Young runner up in 2010, and of course won it in 2012.
There are so many similarities between Price and Kershaw that I know David Price has to be thinking he is next in line. Kershaw has won two Cy Youngs, three All Star Games, and a Gold Glove. Price has a Cy Young, three All Star games as well, and a Cy Young award. Like Kershaw, he also finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting.
In six major league seasons, Kershaw has more than 1,000 innings pitched -- which shows you he is durable -- and he has more than 1,200 strikeouts. In Price's six-year career, he is just short of 1,000 innings pitched and has nearly 900 strikeouts. So the two of them in terms of careers, numbers, what they do on the mound and how they work are nearly identical.
So what's the bottom line? I think it means Price stays this entire season with the Rays. He will be the number one starter on what I think has to be the most talented staff in the majors. Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb make up a very solid line up.
Plus, remember the Rays spent some cash on keeping some big bats in their lineup. They spent money to keep James Loney and David DeJesus is coming back. Toss in Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, and this is more than a competitive team. The Rays have been built to be a playoff team.
So, I think Price stays and Rays fans should be cranked up for this season -- because once again, the Rays should be a heavy favorite to make a push to the World Series.
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