Tampa Bay Rays' David Price Back to the Minors: Economy Hurts Advancement

Kevin MarkumCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 23:  David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during game two of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 23, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 4-2.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Raise your hand if you are tired of hearing about the economy.


Overwhelming majority I see.




How about relating the suffering economy to a subject we all know and love: baseball.


David Price is becoming, or even is now, a household name.  I guarantee that fans tried to pick out certain spring training games based on when he would be pitching this preseason.  I know I was.


Price joins a list of players this offseason that will have their official rookie seasons put off "because they have to monitor their innings."


I'm not buying that either, are you?


This offseason, I've been laughing about the fact that Price is still considered a prospect, after winning and saving games in the 2008 playoffs.  While this is "technically" the case, he's proven his point.


Even this spring training, David has put up numbers of 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in only three spring appearances.


Scouting reports suggest that he has even developed his changeup which is extremely important for maturing prospects that are expected to have a long career.  Match that up with his great fastball and a filthy slider and you have your new "ace-in-waiting."


Sounds good, right?  Price was sent down to Triple-A Durham yesterday in order to efficiently monitor his work load.  Management justifies the move, so they can position him to provide big innings for them in August, September, and October if the Rays make another solid playoff run.


Here's my problem with this. What if the Rays suffer early without Price in the rotation?  What if by July, the Rays are virtually out of the playoff race and their best weapon is sitting in Triple-A where he can't help his team win?


I think the Rays forget that winning the AL East last season was no small task, as the Red Sox and Yankees have dominated that division for years.  For all intents and purposes, the Rays should not have made the playoffs last year—much less two years straight.


That is, unless, they put the best possible team out there.  That team includes Price.


Why leave him in the minors?  I think the move has the same strategy as the Atlanta Braves would have to keep another top-pitching prospect in Triple-A.  Tommy Hanson also will struggle to make the major league roster despite having a great spring as well.




Keeping Hanson and Price in the minors will inevitably prolong arbitration talks for a year longer.  While both could seriously improve their respective teams rotations RIGHT NOW, they are forced to sit in Triple-A, waiting until the contract situations are right.


Baseball is a business. Price recognized that soon after being sent down yesterday, as he was interviewed by reporters. 


His quote when asked about the business side of baseball was, "Yeah, it's a business; they have to look out for their best interest. If I was the owner of the team, I would be doing the same thing."


The Rays' Vice President, Andrew Friedman, says that the decision was not a business decision but a baseball decision.  I find that hard to believe, when the competition Price had didn't win or save a playoff game last season.


Likewise, Hanson, who can pitch better than at least two of the five projected starters for the Braves, will be sent down to avoid arbitration talks in the immediate future.


No doubt, both of these guys will see time this season.  More than likely, both will be in the majors full-time before the All-Star break in July.  Nonetheless, it will be sad sitting around waiting for these guys to bust into the majors.






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