David Price Rumors
- Rays left-hander David Price opted out of the contract he signed when Tampa Bay drafted him, according to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. He's still under team control through 2015 as an arbitration eligible player, however. Price could earn $7-8MM in 2012 through arbitration according to MLBTR's projections, so declining his $2.433MM option was merely a formality.
- David Aardsma, who became a free agent today, wouldn't rule out returning to the Mariners, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (on Twitter).
- Agent Matt Sosnick told Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group that he expects Josh Willingham to sign a three-year deal and doesn’t expect his client to re-sign with the Athletics (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that Yankees executive Billy Eppler was the runner-up to Jerry Dipoto in the Angels' search for a GM (Twitter link).
- The White Sox announced that they hired Jeff Manto to be their hitting coach, Joe McEwing to be their third base coach and Mark Parent to be their bench coach (Twitter link).
- Dave Cameron introduces FanGraphs' top 50 free agents of the offseason. MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents is on its way as well.
Players with two years and 146 days of Major League service time will qualify for Super Two status, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. This was the same cutoff point that was predicted by CAA in April, and as MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote six months ago, it is "a decidedly late cutoff." In 2010, the cutoff date was two years and 122 days of service, while the 2009 cutoff was two years and 139 days.
Click here to refresh yourself on the details of the Super Two process, but to summarize, Super Two players will earn a fourth year of salary arbitration (as opposed to the usual three) before reaching free agency. So, all players with less than three years of service time but at least 2.146 (two years, 146 days) of service time quality as Super Twos.
This year's crop of Super Twos includes some of the top young arms in the game --- David Price, Rick Porcello, Daniel Bard, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Tyler Clippard. Ryan Roberts is also a Super Two, so he could be in line for an extra payday in the wake of his breakout 2011 season.
- Jose Arredondo, Reds, 2.168
- Scott Atchison, Red Sox, 2.168
- Daniel Bard, Red Sox, 2.148
- Brad Bergesen, Orioles, 2.147
- Emmanuel Burriss, Giants, 2.152
- Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 2.148
- Dexter Fowler, Rockies, 2.168
- Gio Gonzalez, Athletics, 2.162
- Garrett Jones, Pirates, 2.158
- Don Kelly, Tigers, 2.149
- George Kottaras, Brewers, 2.149
- Steven Pearce, Pirates, 2.165
- Rick Porcello, Tigers, 2.170
- Landon Powell, Athletics, 2.153
- David Price, Rays, 2.164
- Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks, 2.150
- Adam Rosales, Athletics, 2.171
- Will Venable, Padres, 2.155
- Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals, 2.154
Some rival executives and scouts believe the Rays should trade some of their starting pitching depth for offense this winter, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. But executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman sees things differently.
"Starting pitching depth is very fleeting," Friedman said. "While we have it right now, we can't wake up one day with three or four starters, where we have to go looking on the market. We're absolutely doomed if that happens. We're certainly not going into the winter saying we have too much starting pitching."
Knobler reports that the Reds and Tigers were among the teams interested in James Shields at the trade deadline, but the Rays hung onto the durable right-hander instead. Joining Shields in the projected 2012 rotation are David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and, if injury strikes, Matt Moore or Alex Cobb.
The Royals will be interested in trading for pitching help this offseason and it's easy to imagine teams like the Rockies, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Marlins and A's checking in if the Rays are entertaining trade offers.
Ten years ago today, Marlins starter A.J. Burnett pitched a no-hitter against the Padres despite walking nine batters. Now a member of the Yankees' rotation, Burnett is off to a strong start after a disappointing 2010 season. Here's the latest on the Yankees' division rivals...
- Josh Rupe cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles designated the reliever for assignment on Tuesday.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald notes that the Red Sox inquired about Jose Bautista during the offseason, only to hear that the Blue Jays weren't interested in moving him. Talks never went anywhere, as the Blue Jays were in the process of trading Vernon Wells and extending Bautista (on a deal that’s looking shrewd in the early going).
- John Lackey is in a major rut and he knows it, as Tomase writes. “Everything went wrong that could go wrong,” Lackey said of his start against the Blue Jays last night. “It’s pretty much the story of the whole damn year.”
- Don Connolly of the Baltimore Sun looks back at the 2008 trade that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and others and concludes that it was one of the top five deals in Orioles history, but not quite as good as it seemed a year or two ago.
- James Shields has re-emerged as a top pitcher and is pitching with a sense of purpose, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, who spoke to the Rays right-hander about his 2011 success.
- In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney notes that Rays ace David Price is relying heavily on his fastball. Price threw 103 fastballs out of 112 pitches yesterday, though he averaged a season-high 95.3 mph with the pitch and threw it to both sides of the plate.
C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle and (possibly) C.C. Sabathia aren’t the only left-handed starters pitching for contracts in 2011. Sure, they’re the ones hitting free agency, but this season is an important one for the bank accounts of David Price and Clayton Kershaw, too.
No, they aren’t eligible for free agency, but they are nearing salary arbitration, their first chance for a major payday since signing seven-figure bonuses as first round picks. Various agents and arbitration experts around MLB say they expect the southpaws to redefine the market for first-time arbitration eligible starters this offseason if they stay healthy and continue pitching well.
To do so, Price and Kershaw will have to pass current record holder Dontrelle Willis and Jered Weaver in the $4.3MM range (though Weaver won’t mind, as his salary will skyrocket well into eight-figure territory this offseason). Price (pictured) and Kershaw will need formidable seasons to have superior numbers to the ones Weaver had after 2009 and justify precedent-setting salaries. So far, so good for the southpaws; both are healthy and off to strong starts.
At this point, Weaver has a distinct edge in stats such as starts, wins, innings and quality starts (vital stats for starters in the arbitration process). Kershaw will be able to catch L.A.’s other ace in every one of those categories except for wins if he continues his current pace. Since Kershaw’s ERA is half a run better and he allows fewer hits while striking out more batters, his representatives at Hendricks Sports should be able to argue convincingly that he has earned a salary north of $4.3MM.
Price, on the other hand, won’t catch Weaver or match Kershaw in starts, innings or quality starts. Like Kershaw, his ERA is considerably better than Weaver’s and unlike Kershaw he has award recognition (a second place finish in the 2010 Cy Young voting) and postseason success (3.93 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 in the playoffs) on his side.
Most importantly, Price is working from a $2MM base salary because of the deal he and agent Bo McKinnis negotiated when Price was the top pick in the nation four years ago. The 25-year-old’s high base salary will provide him with leverage and figures to boost his salary into record territory, well beyond Weaver.
Kershaw and Price should both top Weaver and Willis and establish a new market for elite first-time arbitration eligible pitchers, but how high can they go? Tim Lincecum filed for $13MM as a first-time arbitration eligible pitcher before agreeing to a two-year deal last offseason. He had two Cy Young awards at the time, which makes him a poor point of reference for just about any pitcher. Kershaw and Price can forget about asking for $13MM for now.
Jonathan Papelbon technically holds the record for first time arbitration eligible pitchers with a $6.25MM salary. However, arbitrators treat starters and relievers differently, so Papelbon is hardly a better point of reference than Lincecum. Barring the unexpected, Price and Kershaw will not be able to match Papelbon's $6.25MM salary, according to every agent and arbitration analyst surveyed.
“If you are Kershaw's agent, you not only have to beat Weaver - which I think he can - but you somehow have to justify that Kershaw is almost $2MM better than Weaver,” one said. “That can't happen without a significant market shift.”
Not one person surveyed by MLBTR suggested either Price or Kershaw is headed for $6.25MM in 2012, a strong indication that they' aren't set to shatter Weaver's first year mark by $2MM or more.
The early consensus is that Kershaw’s salary figures to sit in the $5-5.5MM range, while Price’s salary will be near the $6MM mark. Either pitcher could sign an extension, instead of following Weaver’s example and going one year at a time (click here for Tim Dierkes’ take on a possible extension for Price).
If they do go year to year, both Price and Kershaw are on track to shoot past Weaver and into the $5-6MM range. It would establish a new record for first-time arbitration eligible pitchers, re-set the market for baseball’s next generation of aces and prime Kershaw and Price for even bigger paydays in the future.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Last year 25-year-old lefty David Price established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball, finishing second in the American League Cy Young voting. The Rays have shown a willingness to guarantee money to a young player seeking long-term security, but Price's situation is not similar to that of James Shields, Evan Longoria, Wade Davis, or Ben Zobrist. Let's take a look.
Price represents one of the game's rare commodities, an ace starting pitcher. He's better than Shields or Davis. Stardom was expected for Price when the Rays drafted him first overall in 2007. Stardom was expected for Longoria as well, but the Rays managed to lock up their third baseman a few weeks into his big league career. I wouldn't be surprised if the Rays tried that with Price too.
At this stage Price is only one season away from arbitration eligibility, and anything resembling his 2010 campaign will result in a big 2012 salary. Regarding an extension, Price told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, "If it's realistic, absolutely, that is something I would definitely do," going on to praise his team.
As Topkin notes, Tim Lincecum and Cole Hamels are a couple of good comparables. All three are Super Two players, meaning they are arbitration eligible four times. Here's how they stack up heading into arbitration, adding in Price's ZiPS projection for 2011.
- Lincecum: 40 wins, 2.90 ERA, 598 2/3 innings, 676 strikeouts (10.2 K/9), two Cy Young awards, two All-Star appearances, no postseason experience
- Hamels: 38 wins, 3.43 ERA, 543 innings, 518 strikeouts (8.6 K/9), a sixth-place Cy Young finish, one All-Star appearance, 2.18 ERA and four wins in six postseason starts, NLCS and World Series MVP awards
- Price: 45 wins, 3.37 ERA, 552 2/3 innings, 482 strikeouts (7.8 K/9), a second place Cy Young finish, one All-Star appearance, 3.93 ERA and one win in 18 1/3 postseason innings
If Price does what ZiPS predicts for 2011 - a 3.48 ERA in 201 2/3 innings - he could make another All-Star team and get Cy Young votes again. And of course he could add to his postseason numbers.
Even without the postseason experience at the time, Lincecum is the best of the group. Had he settled at the midpoint with the Giants instead of signing a two-year deal, he would have been paid $10.5MM in his first arbitration year, which would have been a record for any player. Hamels didn't get to the point of exchanging figures, but his three-year deal paid a discounted salary of $4.35MM in the first year. Though not Super Twos, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander are other good points of reference, with first-year arbitration salaries of $3.8MM and $3.675MM respectively.
Though he's a closer, Jonathan Papelbon's first-year arbitration award of $6.25MM - the current record for a pitcher - is something Price's agent Bo McKinnis could attempt to surpass. That'd essentially be half of the money guaranteed to Wade Davis, so you can see how the two Rays pitchers are not in the same boat. Price has the advantage of operating from what is technically regarded as a $2MM salary for 2011, factoring in his signing bonus. He could potentially earn $40MM+ for his four arbitration years, if he's willing to forgo long-term security.
Unlike the Giants and Phillies, the Rays may be unwilling to do a multiyear deal with Price that does not buy out all arbitration years and some free agent seasons. They could use Felix and Verlander's contracts as models, adjusting for the fact that Price is a Super Two. A fair price might be $35MM for the four arbitration years and $20MM a year for three free agent seasons, coming to a total of $95MM over seven years. Such a contract would be unprecedented, however, and not in the way that the Rays have embraced previously. Plus it's difficult to picture a $20MM pitcher on the Rays, even if their payroll is higher by 2016.
Would Price allow for a club option or three? Would he accept $30MM for his four arbitration years, allowing the Rays savings in the near future and letting them worry about the big free agent salaries later? Such concessions might be necessary to find common ground. Or, perhaps the best route would be a Lincecum or Hamels-style extension, where Price takes security for two or three years while maintaining flexibility for his last one or two arbitration years, and the Rays save several million bucks but don't claim any free agent seasons.
In the wake of Wade Davis' four-year extension, left-hander David Price says that he would be open to signing a long-term deal with the Rays, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. The former No. 1 overall draft pick said that such a deal would have to be under the right terms, though he declined to specify.
"If it's realistic, absolutely, that is something I would definitely do," the 25-year-old said. "I love it here, absolutely. Everyone here knows that I'm a huge fan of this organization and all the people that are in the clubhouse. I feel like it's the right place for me."
Price is under team control until 2016, when he can hit free agency. Topkin suggests a starting point dollar-wise that is somewhere between Tim Lincecum's two-year, $23MM deal and Cole Hamels' three-year, $21MM contract. The left-hander will already be looking at a considerable raise for 2012 when he reaches Super Two status.
Players take a lot of pride in individual awards. While most will say that team success outweighs winning a Cy Young, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, or MVP, there's no question that these achievements still serve as highlights in any player's career. There's more to it than just that, though. Many players have clauses in their contracts which award them extra cash for taking home these individual marks of excellence. As we're in the midst of award season currently, let's take a look at who's cashed in so far:
- Mark Buehrle: The Chicago lefty took home his second Gold Glove and was rewarded with an extra $25K on top of his $14MM salary.
- Joe Mauer: Minnesota's catcher earned his third Gold Glove and his fourth All Star nod, each netting him another $25K on top of his $12.5MM salary.
- Evan Longoria: Longo grabbed his second Gold Glove and his third All Star appearance, bringing in $25K and $50K, respectively, for an additional $75K on top of his ridiculously affordable $950K salary.
- Franklin Gutierrez: Seattle's standout center fielder finally took home a Gold Glove after missing out last season despite a terrific performance, and he'll bring home $50K to go along with his $2MM salary.
- Yadier Molina: Both Molina's second straight All Star selection and third straight Gold Glove will earn him $50K, for a total of $100K, pushing his 2010 earnings to $4.35MM.
- Albert Pujols: The NL's best player took home $25K for his All Star selection, $50K for his second Gold Glove, and $50K for his sixth Silver Slugger. Depending on where he finishes in the MVP voting, he'll take home $50K (third), $100K (second), or $200K (first).
- Brandon Phillips: His second Gold Glove earned him a whopping $250K, as it caused his 2011 salary to increase from $11MM to $11.25MM.
- Scott Rolen: Gold Gloves are nothing new for Rolen. He earned his eighth this season, and took home an additional $50K as a result. He also earned $25K for his sixth career All Star selection, for a total of $75K on top of his $6.5MM payday.
- Troy Tulowitzki: It was a big year for Tulo, who earned his first All Star selection ($25K), Gold Glove ($25K), and Silver Slugger ($50K) to go along with his $3.5MM salary.
- Michael Bourn: Bourn's second Gold Glove was good for $25K on top of his $2.4MM salary.
- Shane Victorino: The Flyin' Hawaiian's third consecutive Gold Glove gave him a $50K bonus on top of his $5MM salary.
- Matt Holliday: His fifth NL Silver Slugger brought in $50K, as did his All Star Selection, netting him $100K in addition to the $17MM he had already earned.
- Felix Hernandez: King Felix's 2010 Cy Young earned him a cool million dollars, as his 2011 salary will now increase from $10MM to $11MM.
- David Price: The sensational lefty's second-place Cy Young finish earned him $80K on top of his $1MM salary.
- Jered Weaver: The AL strikeout king's fifth place finish in the Cy Young voting earned him $50K.
- Adam Wainwright: A second place finish in the 2010 Cy Young voting earned Wainwright an additional $100K on top of his meager $4.65MM salary.
- Ubaldo Jimenez: His third-place finish in the Cy Young voting added $50K to his dirt cheap $1.25MM salary.
Obviously, this isn't a complete list, as not all players' award clauses are available to the public. Still, that's a total of over $2MM in award bonuses, with the MVPs still to come this week.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
More links for your Friday afternoon...
- The Orioles' director of player development told Steve Melewski of MASN.com that Miguel Angel Sano is the best Dominican prospect he's ever seen.
- The Orioles haven't begun negotiating with Sano, as there are some lingering questions about his age.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer says he'd find room for David Price in the crowded Rays 'pen instead of bumping Andy Sonnanstine from the rotation.
- White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann says Josh Phegley and Kyle Bellamy could move quickly through the minors.
- ESPN.com's Jorge Arangure believes the $3.1MM Wagner Mateo agreed to is impressive in this economy.
Major League Baseball has quickly become a young man's game, and there is nothing more precious than young pitching. Tommy Hanson made his big league debut for the Braves today, allowing three homers and seven runs in six innings against the Brewers at home. Just yesterday the Rays' David Price gave up just two hits and three runs in a start against the Yankees in the Bronx, and on Tuesday the Nationals will make Stephen Strasburg the first overall pick in the 2009 Draft.
If you were running your favorite team, which of these three young pitchers would you take for your club? Price is the oldest at 23, but he also has the most experience. Hanson was the best pitching prospect left in the minors before his call up, and Strasburg may be the best draft prospect ever. There's no wrong answer, but I'm interested to see who everyone prefers. So, who ya got?