With Moore Out For TJ Surgery – The Rays Should Hold Onto Price Through 2015

Matt Moore finished 17 - 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness.  Losing this LHP will hurt the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 - 3 slots in the rotation.  That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 - 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost.

Matt Moore finished 17 – 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness. Losing this LHP to TJ Surgery hurts the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 – 3 slots in the rotation. That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  The squad will have to weather the storm for a few months with some organizational players that might include the players: Erik Bedard, Nate Karns or Cesar Ramos. With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 – 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost in 2014 and 2015..  Moore is under Team Control through the 2019 year, and when he comes back to the fold at 100% in 2015, hopefully the Rays will be vying for another postseason berth in the second half.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Lets face it.  The Tampa Bay Rays have had an incredible run at it.  The Florida squad trails only the Yankees for wins since the start of the 2008 season in baseball.

The club has made it to the postseason 4 out of the last 6 years, and possess 5 out of 6 years with 90+ Wins.

All of this with a shoestring budget, and incredible use of stretching dollars on player talent.

Every year, Andrew Freidman finds a bargain Free Agent that becomes an ALL – Star once he dawns the blue and purple.

In 2012,  the 28 Year Old, was 20 - 5, with a 2.56 ERA.  Price led the AL in Wins, Win% and ERA.  2013 wasn't as kind to the LHP.  He still managed a 3.34 ERA based off a 10 - 8 year.  Price was awarded a 1 YR/$14 MIL deal.  While the team may have wanted to trade him, they will do so at a point of higher value than what has been offered.  Price will become a Free Agent regardless following the 2015 campaign.

In 2012, the 28 Year Old, was 20 – 5, with a 2.56 ERA. Price led the AL in Wins, Win% and ERA. 2013 wasn’t as kind to the LHP. He still managed a 3.34 ERA based off a 10 – 8 year. Price was awarded a 1 YR/$14 MIL deal in Arbitration before this year. While the team may have wanted to trade him this winter –  they couldn’t have foreseen that Moore would be sidelined by this injury.  I believe the team should keep their ‘best ever pitcher’ until he hits Free Agency in 2016.  Even if he makes $20 MIL in 2015 for his last year of Arbitration, why not hold onto him.  Use the National TV money to justify that.  You should look at it like you have signed him to a 2 YRs/$34 MIL deal when you combine his 2014 and 2015 projected cash for term.

When James Loney signed his 3 YRs/$21 MIL – it represented the most cash the current team management has handed someone who came from another organization.

The brass pulled extensions at exactly the right times for Evan Longoria, James Shields, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson – and have known to walkaway with guys like B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, Scott Kazmir and Carl Crawford.

Those last guys have never seen as good of days since leaving the franchise.

The team has made brilliant trades for players like Ben Zobrist and Wil Myers, and has continued to develop through nice draft picks.

It has been a brilliant ride, and the latest player to be up for Free Agency is David Price after the 2015 season.

The 2012 Cy Young Winner will earn $14 MIL this year, and has one more campaign remaining in 2015, before hitting Free Agency in 2016.

It is likely the franchise will have to dole out in excess of about $20 MIL for the 2015 year if they were to keep Price.

Price is not the only guy to have one season left under Team Control next season.

Ben Zobrist, has a Team Option for $7.5 MIL on the books.  This guy is the perfect Utility defender for the Joe Maddon club.

With the news coming down the pike that Matt Moore has to undergo Tommy John Surgery in this week, it hurts the chances of the team to trade either asset if they wish to compete in the next 2 years.

It is extremely hard to have a team have a lengthy stay of competitiveness when you are reflecting a payroll in the bottom 5 teams in the league year after year.

Here is my plea to the Rays.

Yes it fully sucks that Moore is out for the better part of 2014 and 2015, when you wanted to trade Price, and keep the assets coming back in return.

With all of the uncertainty of the Pitching Staff, you might as well carry through this year and next with your #1 ace Left Hander.

Consider it a 2 YRs/$34 MIL deal if you project the 28 Year Old Price will earn close to $20 MIL next campaign.

If you had the ability to make that kind of Free Agent signing for the talent given back, any team would gladly take their chances.

While Moore is gone for the 2014 year – and part of 2015, Cobb and Hellickson are slated to throw some pitches later in the year.

You still have Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi to compliment those guys.

While the squad may not be the best staff of five comprised of the 5 players all being healthy in: Price, Cobb, Archer, Hellickson and Odorizzi, they give the team a chance to win every night.

The club just inked Archer to a 6 YR deal to provide some security long time for the rotation.

Alex Cobb is under Team Control until 2018.

Jeremy Hellickson has 2 more years of Arbitration before he hits Free Agency in 2017.

Grant Balfour signed a 2 YR deal for $12 MIL prior to this year.

The pitching should be able to keep the team afloat,  but without the dominant Price, the club will just be average at best without Moore.

The offense is also a lot better on paper – than it has been in several years.  As with every maturing team, the costs will increase as the players hit Arbitration and extensions.

Evan Longoria is there forever, however he is just heading into his prime years.  Wil Myers should shake his sophomore slump shortly and break out.

Desmond Jennings is still salary team friendly (along with Myers), and you have Loney and Zobrist not banking the bank either.

You have David DeJesus for a decent price in the next 3 year at about $5 MIL per annum.

There is even Matt Joyce on the teams books until he hits Free Agency in 2016.

Yunel Escobar also provides great defense and a decent bat for the price you are paying him too.

Ryan Hanigan has a decent bat, and makes right around $4 MIL a year.

The reason why I basically named all of the position players and Pitchers – is that they are all cost effective right now, and the team can afford them.

But now you must make some decisions.

You also just lost Alex Cobb to a pulled oblique for 4 – 6 weeks.  This couldn’t come at worse time for the club.

The team is also without Jeremy Hellickson till the second half of the year.

For their part, the organization have definitely sidelined trade chatter for Price at least for the year.

I think they should go one step further – extending the thought process for one more year.

The Rays will have a chance to be among the better clubs with a full healthy roster (even minus Moore) for the next 2 years if they retain Price’s services.

Hopefully, they can cash in on of this opportunity.

The time will come at Tropicana Field, where the team will not field a winning team again.  It will be a shame when the attendance dwindles down from even the futile rate they are showing up at the yard right now.

Maybe another World Series run (or win for that matter) will fuel talks for a new ballpark to be built afterwards.

This team simply can’t continue to beat the house odds like they have for the last few years.

The Tampa Bay Rays suffered though  horrible years from 1998 - 2007 - where they never won more than 71 Games and finished last every year in the AL East.  The assets were built up enough - coupled with the saavy dealing/acquiring/signing coming from Andrew Friedman

The Tampa Bay Rays suffered though horrible years from 1998 – 2007 – where they never won more than 71 Games – and finished last every year in the AL East. The assets were built up enough – coupled with the saavy dealing/acquiring/signing coming from Andrew Friedman and the team brass, the club has put forth a 559 – 428 (.566) record since the start of the 2008 season – with 5 of the 6 full years resulting in 90+ wins, and 4 of the years including a postseason berth – with the 2008 squad losing in the World Series.  The team needs to ride it out with the current roster – without trading away any established players to prolong the cycle of compete.  Their best shot is to win is now by keeping the top guys.

It took 9 years of horrible records, drafting – and last place finishes,  to accrue enough assets to kickstart their ascent in the standings for the last 6 years.

You would have to think this club will be able to put forth winning years in both of 2014 and 2015 as well.

That would mean 8 straight winning years, and many of them being near the top of the AL East – where the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have dwarfed their payroll and fielded stocked ALL – Star lineups.

To have nearly a decade like that would be similar to what the Oakland A’s (2000 – Present) and the Minnesota Twins (2001 – 2010) have done.

The A’s did have a cold spell from 2007 – 2011, although they never lost more than 88 games in one given year.

Look at what the Twins have been going through since their core team all aged – outpricing themselves from the Twin Cities.

Only having the new stadium Target Field has helped offset 3 90+ loss campaigns.

Can you imagine the turnstiles if the Rays were to revert back to their 1998 – 2007 team status as a speedbag?

After the 2015 campaign, the team may lose Price, Zobrist, Joyce and Balfour, and this time, they may not be able to supplant their losses sufficient enough beyond that.

I doubt the team would be horrid.  Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb. Matt Moore, Escobar, Hanigan, Hellickson, Odorizzi will still be mainstays on the club going forward.

Perhaps the management will continue to roll up aces on some more value buys at the Free Agency table.

I would have to think the Rays fanbase would look fondly towards the club if they kept Price and Zobrist until the term of the contracts ends.

Price has been playing in the uniform since 2008 – and Zobrist would have played for a decade by then (2006 – 2015).

Both players would have a chance to have their numbers retired by the franchise after their playing days are over.

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game.  He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years - including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  . Zobrist who continues this season with his musical chairs role on the team has not let his bat cool down ays fans need not worry this early. With only 10 games played in the young season now is not the time to start throwing in the towel and saying that GM Andrew Friedman and his staff have lost their touch.  Zobrist has played 1B/2B/3B/SS/CF/LF/RF and even has DH'd a few different times, he only has not caught or pitched as a member of the team from 2006 - present.  The team will surely pick up his 2015 Team Option, and like Balfour, Price and Joyce, they will enter their last year under Team Control of the Rays.

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game. He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years – including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.   He  has played 1B/2B/3B/SS/CF/LF/RF and even has DH’d a few different times, he only has not caught or pitched as a member of the team from 2006 – present. He features a career 3 Slash Line of .263/.355/.435 – and averages around 20 HRs, 80 RBI and scoring 85 Runs.  The team will surely pick up his 2015 Team Option, and like Balfour, Price and Joyce, they will enter their last year under Team Control of the Rays.  If he stays through the next 2 calendar years, he would have been with the club for a decade.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on April 15, 2014, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

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