Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann.
This will be the answer to the trivia question, in a bar somewhere, to the question, who beat out David Price for the Rays' 5th starting pitching job in 2009.
Welcome to small-time baseball, with your host Tampa Bay.
The Rays came from obscurity and mediocrity last season, shocking the baseball world with a World Series berth most thought belonged to the Red Sox.
They accomplished this with a tiny budget, using frugal means, retread closers, young players and a rising pitching staff.
Nothing's change a year later. The Rays are somewhere between frugal and cheap. The difference may be simply how you were raised.
I used to think they were simply frugal. Now, after David Price's demotion to AAA to start the season - a year after they did the same thing with All-Star Evan Longoria - I'm convinced they're simply cheap.
Frugal is not going out and signing overrated Pat Burrell to a 2-year, $16 million contract and then a few months later try to play off the Price demotion as purely a "baseball decision." The change-up and slider location simply are not worthy.
C'mon. Ask J.D. Drew about Price's slider location.
Through 8 1/3 Spring Training innings, Price has a 1.08 ERA, striking out 10 and walking 6 (Hammel a 4.95 ERA; Niemann a 6.32).
Earlier today, XM interviewed St. Pete Times beat writer Marc Topkin, who said Price's change-up had gone from suspect to one of the best 3 or 4 change-ups on the whole staff after he worked on it in the offseason.
The change-up that the Rays are most interested is the number of dollars they'll be able to sign Price in a long-term deal, ala Evan Longoria, who they were able to coax into signing a 6-year, $17.5 million deal days after calling him up in mid-April last spring.
Longoria, widely believed to be one of the top-hitting 3B in the game already, was worth way more than $3 million a year. Sure, the deal has 3 option years attached, which would raise the total deal to $44 over 9 years, but they are team options and that still isn't anywhere near market value.
Basically, it's his contract price that ultimately cost Price a demotion.
Cue appropriate Alanis Morissette ditty.
Fantasy Spin: What to do with David Price? This will haunt fantasy owners for the next 1-2 months. If your league has bench spot, it's a no-brainer. Stash and wait. It's leagues where you have no bench spots, where it gets sticky. What is Price's value for, say, 4 or 5 months, compared to the next best waiver option? I'm betting that Price is called up mid-May and that he'll outperform your NBO (next best option) in every category, besides possibly wins. Even in my 10-team Observer mixed league, I'm not planning on dropping him. Just too much talent. And he's just fun to watch.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Posted by Trevor Freeze at 2:41 PM