Updates from Saturday, Dec. 22
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays aren't in a hurry to trade Price:
With the start of spring training now closer than the end of the season, the Rays' position appears to be the same as it was. They are willing to listen on Price, who has two seasons until free agency, but it's going to take a lot — in terms of young talent — to get him. Fair conclusion: They haven't been made a good-enough offer yet.
That could change — if not in the next couple of weeks that typically are quiet in baseball than in January — as teams, some that have talked to the Rays and some that maybe have not, reassess needs and options, perhaps with more desperation. Resolution of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's status is a factor; if he isn't available, that should increase the demand for Price (as well as remaining free agents Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana) because there would be one fewer frontline starter to be had.
But there is no deadline, no drop-dead date by which the Rays have to make a deal or tell Price he isn't being traded. Reports that they are motivated to do so by Dec. 31 to hand off payment of $4 million in deferred money are incorrect: The payment isn't due until Oct. 1, and it is the Rays' obligation, so really a nonfactor, as including it would be the same as asking for cash in a deal and subject to MLB approval.