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Why His Value Is Rising
Four reasons. One, the Tampa Bay Rays aren't entirely out of it given the state of the AL East, where being 9.5 games back doesn't mean what it used to mean. The Rays can use that as leverage in talks by telling David Price suitors, "Hey, unless you overwhelm us, we're gonna keep Price and let this thing play out."
Two: Price just might be pitching better than he has at any point in his career of late, with an ERA of 1.85 since the start of June. For the season, the 28-year-old's 3.12 FIP is right in line with the past two, and his 7.8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is a career best.
Three: With the Chicago Cubs having traded Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics, the pitching market lost two big pieces in one fell swoop. Price is now the biggest available name—and it's not close. The supply went down, but the demand has only gone up.
And four: The Rays don't have to trade Price now, because he's under team control through the 2015 season. While they're likely to get more for him between now and July 31 since the acquiring team would have an extra 10 to 12 starts from an elite pitcher, the Rays could wait until the winter to create a bidding war and then go with the best offer they get.
For his part, Price realizes he might not be long for Tampa, as he told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:
Since 2012, (the Rays and I) both understood that for Tampa to continue the kind of success we've had over the past five or six years, this is the way they operate. I would love to stay there and for us to continue to be successful. But I don't know if that's a possibility.