Only the Tampa Bay Rays know for sure what will be deemed acceptable for David Price, or when they'll be ready to say yes. But rival officials are monitoring the market in the way that meteorologists follow weather patterns, and they believe that the Rays are prepared to move the former Cy Young Award winner. As in, right now.
The Rays aren't actually close to trading Price, according to sources. But the climate is right, given Price's impending free agency after 2015 and Tampa Bay's shockingly poor play this season. The Rays' loss Monday pushed them to 12 games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East, and they are 10½ games behind in the race for the second wild card -- stunning, given the consistency of Tampa Bay's success in the past six seasons. From 2008 to 2013, the Rays averaged 91-plus wins per season, reaching the playoffs four times.
But the Rays would have to go 60-24 the rest of the season in order to achieve 91 wins, and given the loss of Matt Moore and the struggles of the rotation (19th in ERA), Evan Longoria, Wil Myers and others, there is little reason to believe Tampa Bay is poised for that kind of turnaround.
And now, Price is back to throwing the ball at a star-caliber: He has 43 strikeouts and four walks in 31⅓ innings, with nine earned runs allowed.