This offseason the Tampa Bay Rays will most likely make a bigger splash dealing rather than buying. The Rays appear to be planning to fill most of their voids with in-house players, but that is not to say they will not be signing anybody. The Rays do have some needs that may have to be filled by signing a free agent, or potentially by trading away ace of the staff, David Price.
Tampa Bay’s General Manager, Andrew Friedman, has noted some of the positions that the team needs to fill to continue to be contenders next year. Friedman claims to be looking for a first baseman, as well as a second catcher and some relief pitching.
He did not make it clear whether he is planning on re-signing 2013 closer Fernando Rodney, or if he would rather go with another option. The other options would be to sign somebody for less money, or to promote one of their relievers from last season. With teams like the New York Yankees in contention for the league’s top closers, the Rays will most likely bet on one of their relievers to step up. Joel Peralta and Jake McGee are two likely options to take over the ninth inning role.
The main question that everybody wants to know about the Rays is whether or not they will trade away their ace starting pitcher to free up some money for the organization. Price will be a free agent after the 2015 season, but is currently arbitration-eligible. This means that he will probably get an increase from his 2013 salary of around $10 million to about $13 or $14 million next season. The Rays have set a precedent for trading away their aces the past few seasons: the team traded away Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs after the 2010 season, and traded James Shields to the Kansas City Royals following the 2012 season.
Any team who wants to acquire Price from the Rays should be prepared to make a pretty good offer in addition to taking on his salary. If the Rays are going to give up their ace, who is also known for pitching a lot of innings, they are going to have to receive something really worthwhile in return. The Rays acquired current outfielder and 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner, Wil Myers, in trading Shields to the Royals after the 2012 season.
It appears as though, for the most part, the Rays are going to be brining a familiar squad back to Tropicana Field in the 2014 season. The biggest question is whether or not they will be starting Price on opening day.
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