When the offseason began, many speculated that David Price's time with the Rays was coming to an end, as the ace southpaw would be traded at the height of his remaining value (two years of team control) and Tampa Bay could save money and add even more quality prospects to their system. The perception amongst rival executives now, however, is that Price will stay put through the coming season, ESPN's Buster Olney reports in his latest Insider-only column. "Ninety percent chance he stays," one rival executive said. "The [trade] market hasn't materialized." MLBTR readers seem to agree with that sentiment — according to a recent poll, less than 31% of respondees feel that Price will be pitching elsewhere by Opening Day.
Here's some more news from around the AL East…
- Also from Olney's piece, some executives believe the Yankees and Dodgers will be the two final players in the race for Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees have the greater need for pitching and perhaps even more pressure to sign Tanaka now that most of Alex Rodriguez's salary is off the books for 2014. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have shown they'll pay any price for a player they want, and are "more shameless in their bidding," according to some rival executives.
- If the Yankees can't sign Tanaka, they could again focus on staying under the $189MM luxury tax limit, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford speculates. Rodriguez's suspension could make the Yankees' payroll decision more difficult, as had A-Rod's 2014 salary still been fully owed, New York could've added Tanaka and other needed upgrades with the assumption that they'd be well over the $189MM threshold. If Tanaka signs elsewhere, however, Bradford isn't sure that the Yankees would be willing to pay another big luxury tax penalty for one of the other big free agent starters (Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana or Matt Garza) and they surely wouldn't go over $189MM just to sign a closer.
- If recent signees Delmon Young and Alexi Casilla make the Orioles' roster, it could hurt their chances of keeping Rule 5 Draft selection Michael Almanzar, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. Almanzar was taken by the O's from the Red Sox in last month's draft, and if Almanzar isn't on the Major League roster for the entire 2014 season, Baltimore has to offer him back to Boston for $25K.
- CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff predicts 24 of the 25 players who he feels will make the Orioles' Opening Day roster. The 25th spot is being left open for a starting pitcher from outside the organization, as Dubroff feels the O's will add a starter between now and the start of Spring Training.