David Price said last week that he would not be surprised if Tampa Bay Rays traded him this winter, now that he is eligible for salary arbitration.
Trade David Price? The ace of the staff? A Cy Young winner? It is sad, but likely. Losing top talent such as Carl Crawford and James Shields is a way of life where the pauper-poor Rays have succeeded by trading stars for inexpensive, promising prospects before having to pay market rates for top players.
Price may also be illustrative of something else that happens in small-town Tampa. It is a low-pressure, less-challenging atmosphere. Price, who is college-educated and recognised for his community involvement, nevertheless embarrassed himself with a series of comments and tweets when he faltered in the national spotlight last week.
After losing to Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series, he lashed out at David Ortiz for admiring a home run, called writers “nerds” and insulted two broadcasters, questioning their insights because they were not the baseball talents he is.
Price apologised for reacting badly when things did not go his way. Of course, he has yet to face intense media critiquing, either, the kind he will receive on a daily basis if he ends up on a large-market team.
Price said he will miss playing for the Rays, should that day come, but he knows that he probably will get a bigger contract somewhere else. Maybe he will be ready for a bigger stage now, too.