Of the First Games of Spring Training and David Price (Updated)

David Price in the foreground, Roberto Hernandez on the mound. (Photo courtesy of Marc Topkin/Tampa Bay Times)

David Price in the foreground, Roberto Hernandez on the mound. (Photo courtesy of Marc Topkin/Tampa Bay Times)

With Spring Training now in full gear, the Rays will see their first Grapefruit League action Saturday, taking on both the Pirates and the Red Sox in a pair of split-squad games. The Rays will not have an intraleauge game this week because of the split squad games. Slated to pitch against the Pirates are Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann – two pitchers battling it out for the last spot on the rotation. Enny Romero will get the start against the Red Sox in Ft. Myers. Chris Archer, who’s also battling for a spot on the rotation, will get the start Sunday, with Alex Cobb and David Price following on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

Roberto Hernandez has apparently been impressive so far this spring, which could make the battle for the last spot on the rotation interesting. Rays skipper Joe Maddon was quoted as saying,

I love the quality of the seven or eight, whatever it’s going to be, I love the quality of the decision-making there. It’s going to be very difficult.

Hernandez is expected to stick as a long reliever, though a quality spring will make it very hard on Maddon to make a final decision. In all honesty, I think the final spot on the rotation is up for Niemann to lose. Chris Archer is ready, and hungry, for a spot, as are both Hernandez and Jake Odorizzi. A weak spring on Niemann’s part will, arguably, spell the pen for him.

In other news, according to an MLB Trade Rumors piece, David Price was quoted as saying that he “would love” to continue pitching for the Rays over the long-term, though the odds of the Rays retaining him over the long-term are nil at best. Price mentioned that he’s “not taking a discount” to sign long-term with the Rays, while also noting,

I don’t play this game for the money, but I don’t want to be under-appreciated. What I’ve done for this organization so far, I feel like I’ve helped this organization a great deal. So if they want to show me some appreciation, then fine.

Put it this way, I highly doubt that the Rays will be able to net enough money via the projected new revenue streams, and ticket sales, to keep Price here past the 2014 season. Many have speculated that this could be his last season with the Rays. Whatever the case, it’s all but certain that King Felix’s huge contract will have an impact on any contract talks between Price and the Rays, or any other team that may be looking to get their hands on the 2012 Cy Young Award winner. And though a long-term contract with Price may not surpass that of King Felix, whatever he may be seeking will likely be more than the Rays can dole out. In the words of a friend, “I’d say enjoy Price while he’s here and hope like hell the Rays can get some impact pieces in return for him before he hits free agency.”

Noteworthiness

If you missed our Links For Finks post, you missed the MLB 411 composite projections. You just may want to check that out.

Also, the Tampa Tribune published an article titled, Ybor City apartments pitched as Tampa Bay Rays stadium site in their February 21st issue. The author of the article asserts that the property in question, sandwiched between Ybor City and Downtown Tampa, addresess a number of issues the city has been dealing with for years in that neighborhood, such as blight and lack of economic growth.  However, as Noah Pransky noted in his latest piece,

But before you waste too much time giving the proposal any credibility, realize a few things:

1. Finding land isn’t the problem in the Stadium Saga, it’s finding money to build a stadium.  And of course, this proposal mentions nothing of a stadium funding source.

2. There are a dozen reasons why a stadium in blighted Ybor City doesn’t make sense.

3. Fixing blight is a big reason why the Trop sits where it does, and how is that working out for baseball fans?

In short, I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one. Then again, I reckon a trip to Ikea followed by an early evening game could be nice.

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