Marc Topkin and Joe Smith are reporting that the Rays still think ’07 first-overall pick David Price is “in need of minor-league development,” and could be headed to triple-A Durham to start the season. Price is hoping to force the Rays’ hand and make the opening day roster.
“It’s not very fun if I’m not here competing for a job,” Price said Monday. “That’s what I came here for, to compete for that fifth spot, and that’s what I want to do. … I want them to not be able to look me in the eyes at the end of spring training and tell me I’m going to (Triple-A) Durham.”
If Price can win the final spot in the rotation, the Rays would likely only have room for one of Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel as a long reliever in the bullpen. Both players are out of minor league options and both would certainly be claimed if the Rays try to sneak them through waivers. If Price impresses in spring training, the Rays may be forced to deal prior to opening day.